Lotus Root(Nadru) and Crispy Potato Sabzi with Cardamom and Nutmeg

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Lotus root or Nadru, as it is called in Kashmiri Cuisine is one of my favorite vegetables. It has a sweetish, starchy taste when cooked and goes really well with spices like cardamom, and nutmeg. One of the best Nadru dishes I have ever tasted is a Kofta, from Chef Vikas Khanna’s NYC restaraunt, Junoon. It is something I have tried at home and has turned out most perfectly, every single time. That is a recipe for another day. For now, I’ll move on to the much simpler recipe I am supposed to write about.

Cleaning Lotus Roots is a small process in itself, because  sometimes there is mud lodged in the holes. It is important to run the peeled root under running water to get rid of all the mud, before cooking. I also found several articles on the health benefits of this absolutely delectable vegetable. Here is one that is very promising- http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/nutrients-lotus-roots-high-3520.html

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Ingredients- 

  1. Lotus Root- 250 gms, cleaned, peeled and sliced into 12 inch circles. Keep in cold water till ready for cooking.
  2. Potatoes- 2 Large, peeled and cubed
  3. Cashews soaked in a couple of tablespoons of milk- about 10( To be made into a paste, of thick consistency)
  4. Small Cardamoms Whole- 4
  5. Cardamom Powder- 1/2 Tsp
  6. Nutmeg Powder- 1/2 Tsp
  7. Red Chili Powder- 1 1/2 Tsp( I used Kashmiri Mirch powder)
  8. A few Golden Raisins-  For garnishing( Optional)
  9. Kala Jeera- 1 Tsp
  10. Oil- 2 TBSP
  11. Salt to taste

Method- 

Cook the Nadru slices in a pressure cooker with the cardamoms and some salt for 2 whistles. In the meanwhile make a tempering of the Kala Jeera in oil and add the cubed potatoes. Saute the potatoes well, till all the sides are golden brown and they resemble French fries. Drain all the water from the Nadru and add the cooked slices with the potatoes. Make a paste of the cashews in milk and add the paste to the Potatoes and Nadru. Add the remaining powders, and salt and give the mixture a good stir. Cover and let everything come together for a few minutes. Add a few raisins to garnish.

Serve hot with either rotis or as a side dish with Pulao.

 

 

 

Mixed Vegetable Saagu

Ingredients-
Serves- 4
1. 2 cups- Mixed vegetables, cut to a 1/4 of an inch( carrots, beans, potato, capsicum, peas, choyote squash)
Note 1- Any vegetable can be used, but these are the veggies that definitely have to be in there:
One transparent vegetable( eg,choyote/cucumber), potato, beans( green beans/long beans/cluster beans), peas, one type of chopped greens( eg spinach/Methi), capsicum
Note 2– Onions, garlic and tomato are also added, but I skipped, because I like the flavor of the vegetables cooked in the spices, just on its own.

2. 1/2 cup- Chopped spinach
3. Oil- 4 tsp for seasoning
4. Jeera- 1 tsp for seasoning
5. Asafetida
6. Curry leaves- 5 to 6
7. Salt- to taste
8. Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
9. Fresh Coriander- 3 sprigs, finely chopped

Grind the following to a very fine, thick paste using just as much water as needed-
Fresh grated coconut- 2 tbsp
Cinnamon-1 inch piece
Cloves-3
Cardamom-seeds of 1
Poppy seeds-1 tbsp
Jeera-1/2 tsp
Green chilies-5 to 6
Fried Gram- 1Tbsp
Ginger- a 1 inch piece

Method-
Pressure cooking the vegetables is easier, but may make them mushy, so I generally do it in a vessel with a lid. Heat the oil in the vessel in which you will be cooking the Saagu. Add the jeera, asafetida and curry leaves. Add all the vegetables and spinach add the salt, turmeric powder, stir well for a minute and add about 1 1/2 cups of water. Cover and keep checking till everything is well cooked, but not mushy.
To this mixture, add the coconut paste and mix well. Add a little water if needed, because the fried gram tends to thicken the curry. Cook covered for a few more minutes. Add the chopped coriander.

This dish goes great with Poori, Chapathi, Rava idli, or any other type of idli, Set dosa or Khali Dosa.

Green beans Curry- with yogurt and poppy seeds

I found this great cookbook on vegetarian recipes in the library. Its called ‘The Art of Vegetarian cooking‘ by Yamuna Devi. I find most of the recipes very interesting and delicious and very different from normal, everyday, mundane stuff. None of the recipes contain onions, garlic or eggs plus are not smothered in heavy cream.  Written by a person who was not born in India, but spent a considerable amount of time there learning the intricacies of the Indian cusine and mastering it. Hats off to her!!

One of the first recipes I tries form the book was a green beans curry, cooked in a poppy- yogurt sauce. It was so good, that it got me hooked to the book. The recipe calls for some nutmeg powder, which I the ultra conservative would never have dreamed of adding to anything that was not sweet. Boy! How wrong I was…..

Ingredients-

1. Green beans- about 1 lb, washed and broken into 2 inch pieces

2. Poppy seeds( khus khus)- 3 TBsp, powdered

3. Green chilies- 4 to 5

4. Ginger- 1/2 inch

5. Cumin seeds- 1/2 Tsp

6. Coriander leaves- 4 sprigs

5. Yogurt- 3/4 cup

6. Cooking oil- 3 Tbsp

7. Curry leaves- a sprig

8. Nutmeg powder- 1/4 Tsp( preferably fresh)

9. Salt to taste

Method-

Steam the cut beans till they are just done. Grind together the yogurt, poppy seeds powder, green chilies, cumin, ginger and coriander leaves. Mix the paste well with the cooked green beans.

In a kadhai, heat the oil and add the curry leaves. After a few seconds, add the green beans, salt and nutmeg powder. Stir well, and cook without covering till the liquid almost dries up. Serve with hot phulkas or any kind of roti.