Lotus Root – A Delicious and Super nutritious Rhizome
Lotus root is a rich source of polyphenolic compounds that have multiple health beneficial effects ranging from anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, and hypoglycemic properties. Lotus root is the rhizome of Nelumbo Nucifera. It is highly popular in Eastern cuisine, specifically in China, India, Korea, and Japan, where it is prized as a delicacy and also consumed in the herbal medicinal system. In India, it is known as “Kamal Kakri”, “Padmanala”, or “Bhe”, in Japan as “renkon”, and in China as “Lian Ou”.
The roots have a mild flavor and crunchy texture. They are used in salads, fried, boiled, pickled with vinegar, or cooked along with other vegetables in soups. The tender roots are good to be eaten in raw form as a salad, while mature with high fiber should be cooked before consumption. The roots keep changing as they are cooked. Little boiling gives them a soft and crunchy texture, which goes well in soups and as a side dish. When boiled, even more, it turns starchy and hard, hence can be ground into gravies, curries, or a thick soup.
In the Ayurvedic system, lotus rhizome is used in multiple formulations as a diuretic and antimicrobial agents to treat urinary disorders, skin-related issues, and those of abdominal, lung, and skin infections. All parts of the lotus plant are used in cuisines and medicines across Asia. The plant has an astringent effect on the body. It is diuretic (supports urinary system), emollient (good for skin), antifungal, and antipyretic (reduce fever) in nature.
Lotus Root is rich in Antioxidants and Minerals
The rhizome food is a good source of dietary fiber, low in cholesterol and saturated fats. It has a high concentration of alkaloids, phytochemicals, Vitamins, and Minerals, with negligible calories (100g stem provides with only 74 calories).
- Good source of Minerals as Calcium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Iron, Copper, and Manganese
- B Vitamins as Vitamins B6, Thiamin, Riboflavin, and Niacin, and Vitamin C as Ascorbic Acid
- Good source of dietary fiber with 100g roots providing 4.9g fiber.
Lotus Root has Anti-diabetic and Anti-inflammatory health effects
Lotus root or rhizome is used as a tonic in traditional medicinal systems due to its high concentration of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
- Supports heart health and can be used as a tonic for the cardiovascular system due to a high concentration of minerals, especially Potassium
- The rhizomes help lower blood sugar levels and increase glucose tolerance due to a high concentration of dietary fiber and antioxidants, hence highly recommended for Diabetics
- In Chinese and Asian systems, lotus root soup is given to new mothers as it is highly nutritious and helps protect the mothers and newborn from any infections
- Supports digestive health and cures abdominal disorders such as diarrhea, chronic dyspepsia, and dysentery.
- For its anti-inflammatory properties, lotus root finds its use in the treatment of hemorrhoids, tissue inflammation, cancer, and chronic liver-related disorders.
- The powder of the rhizome is used in external applications to cure skin infections of microbes such as bacteria, fungi, yeast, and ringworm.
- Lotus root is an excellent ingredient for various homemade skin products, it can be applied in paste form or dry powder can also be used for the same.
- The nodes of the root are used to arrest bleeding, such as nasal bleeding, hemoptysis (blood in cough), haematuria (blood in urine), haematemesis (blood in vomit), and functional bleeding of the uterus.
- Supports gut flora, boosts immunity, and also flushes toxins out of the body via excretory systems such as sweat and urine.
Lotus Root Curry – Indian Recipes
Since lotus roots or rhizome grow in muddy waters, they require little cleaning before they can be put to culinary use. They need to be peeled, cut, and preboiled to remove all the impurities. In India, we add turmeric and salt to the water for boiling. Sometimes, milk is also added to water during the cleaning process.
This is a delicious yet super easy recipe that requires a medium level of preparation. It is an excellent meal option for lunch and dinner. This recipe is kids friendly for its texture and taste. It is highly recommended for Diabetics, cancer patients, those suffering from piles and constipation, skin disorders, new mothers, and for people suffering from hypertension.
Lotus Root Curry – Ingredients (Serves 4-5 persons)
- 3 medium-sized nodes of the lotus rhizome (about 500g)
- 1 medium sized onion – finely chopped
- 4-5 cloves of garlic – finely chopped
- 1 medium sized tomato – finely chopped
- 3 teaspoons Turmeric – 1 for cleaning and 2 for the curry
- 1 teaspoon Coriander Powder
- 2 Teaspoons panch fotan (an equal mix of five seeds as Fennel, Cumin, Nigella, Mustard, and Fenugreek)
- Salt to taste
- Few twigs of coriander leaves – finely chopped for garnishing
- 1 cup green peas (optional)
- 2 tablespoons mustard oil
Lotus Root Curry – Method of Preparation (40 mins)
- Peel the lotus root, cut horizontally as shown in the picture.
- Heat a pan. Add 2 glasses of water, 1 teaspoon turmeric, and a pinch of salt. Add the cut lotus roots, and bring to boil. This step can also be done in a pressure cooker, which also helps to soften the roots (as they are quite fibrous and hard). The pressure cooker will take about 10 mins, while closed pan cooking may require 20-30 mins of boiling. Keep aside and let it cool down to normal temperature.
- Once cold, grind the roots to make a paste-like consistency in a food processor.
- Heat a pan, add mustard oil. Once the oil is a little hot, add the panchfotan and let the seeds splutter.
- Add chopped onion and garlic. Keep stirring till the mix turns golden brown.
- Add turmeric, salt, and coriander powder. Stir for another 2 mins.
- Add chopped tomatoes and stir for another 2-3 mins till tomatoes are mashed.
- Add the lotus roots paste. Add little water if required. Keep stirring for another 5 mins till all the ingredients are blended well together.
- Close the heat and garnish with coriander leaves.
- Serve with chapati or rice! Enjoy!