“Once you taste the exotic, its difficult to go back to the boring old stuff”- I say.
Lotus Roots or rather the stems are not known much as a vegetable in Southern India. I had never seen them in the markets of Bangalore while growing up. My fascination with this vegetable started when an Aunt of mine here in the US was talking about Kashmiri Cuisine. She happened to mention a very special chips made from Lotus Stems, that she had tasted several years ago in Kashmir. After that I started seeing a lot of these in Indian Stores across NY and NJ. I had to get them home and try it out at once. I can’t thank my Aunt enough for introducing me to this exotic vegetable. No trip to the Indian store is complete without Lotus root in my basket.
The first time I made chips, I did not have a Mandolin Slicer. The pieces were uneven and they did not cook evenly in the oil. The second time, I did have the Mandolin slicer and I can never forget that time, because I cut my thumb( It was that bad). So, lesson learnt- Be extra, extra careful with a slicer and always use the Plastic food pusher, because its very easy to get carried away with the speed at which you are slicing.
The Lotus Root is called ‘Nadur’ or ‘Nadru’ in Kashmiri and ‘Bhein’ or ‘Kamal Kakdi’ in Hindi. It is extremely starchy and rich in fiber. When cooked, it tastes more or less like water chestnut. All other information about this exotic plant can of course be found here
To make Nadru chips- Take 2 healthy stems of Nadru. Wash them well and peel the skin. Wash well again to make sure there is no mud in the holes. Use a Mandolin slicer set at 1/8 of an inch thickness to make nice, equal slices. Put the cut slices in water for a few minutes before frying. Before frying, dry the cut up chips well on a kitchen towel. Fry the chips in oil on a medium flame till golden brown. Take out the chips onto a Paper towel to absorb excess oil.
Season the chips with some salt, red pepper powder and asafoetida or as preferred. Enjoy either alone or with loved ones, if any are left over while frying!