Lotus stem, also known as Kamal kakri, Kamal kakdi, Bhein, or Bheen, is a long stalk with a mellow spring to lime green color that belongs to the lotus plant. It has hollow air cubicles within and a mild sweet flavor. Lotus stems are widely used in Asian cuisines and are enjoyed for their taste and nutritional value.
To prepare lotus stem for cooking, you can either chop it finely or cut it into cubes. To chop it finely, wash the lotus stems gently, cut the two extremes which are inedible, and then place the stem in bunches horizontally on a chopping board and slit them into two halves. Cut them vertically using a sharp knife and then chop the pieces into small pieces approximately 1/4 inch in diameter. If the recipe calls for coarsely chopped ingredients, make the pieces slightly larger.
Similarly, if you want the lotus stem to be finely chopped, cut it into still smaller pieces. To cut the lotus stem into cubes, wash it gently, cut the two extremes which are inedible, and then place the stem in bunches horizontally on a chopping board and slit them into two halves. Cut it into square-shaped pieces approximately one inch in diameter vertically, although the cubes don’t need to be exactly the same size. You can adjust the size of the cubes depending on the recipe.
To blanch the lotus stem, heat water to the first boil, and cut the stem into three parts. Immerse the washed stem pieces in the boiling water for just less than a minute. Drain out the hot water and remove the outer peel of the stem. The nutritive value is not lost, and the green color is even more enhanced. Blanching lotus stem is often used to remove the outer thin skin layer from the vegetable without removing the pulp.
Nutritional Benefits of Lotus Stem
Lotus stem is a nutrient-dense vegetable that is rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It is particularly high in vitamin C, which supports immune function and helps to protect against free radical damage. Lotus stem is also a good source of potassium, which is important for healthy blood pressure, and iron, which is essential for healthy blood cells.
Culinary Uses of Lotus Stem
Lotus stem is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. It is commonly used in stews and curries, where it adds a crunchy texture and a slightly sweet flavor. Lotus stem can also be sliced thinly and used in salads or pickled for a tangy flavor. In addition to its culinary uses, lotus stem is also used in traditional medicine for its anti-inflammatory properties.
How to Prepare and Cook Lotus Stem
Before cooking lotus stem, it must be cleaned and peeled to remove the rough exterior. Once peeled, it can be sliced thinly or cut into bite-sized pieces for use in dishes. Lotus stem can be boiled, sautéed, or fried, depending on the desired texture and flavor.
Lotus stem is a versatile and nutrient-dense vegetable that is used in many dishes throughout India and Southeast Asia. It is rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and has a slightly sweet flavor and a crunchy texture that make it a popular ingredient in stews, curries, and salads. Whether you’re looking to add more nutrients to your diet or explore new flavors and textures, lotus stem is a great ingredient to try.