A few of friends of Spiceroots recently asked me to share some traditional recipes from Kashmir. Today I chose to share the Nadir Yakhin – Lotus Roots in yogurt sauce, as it brings a lot of happy memories from my childhood. My cousin and I used to steal pieces of lotus roots from each other’s plates – just so the other did not get to eat one too many. We would sit next to each other and keep a sharp eye out for a moment when the other was not looking and grab it from the plate. Of course we could always help ourselves to some more from the kitchen, but where was the fun in that. Kids feeding vegetables to the family dog under the table? Not we two! Especially not when my Grand mother made this dish.
The best part is that even though we have grown up, we still don’t trust each other with this dish around. If we didn’t have to be a good example for kids around us, we might still end up fighting over it. Sometimes, being an adult is hard.
This is a quintessential Kashmiri dish and is the star of a vegetarian festive meal. In my opinion, the best tasting nadur (lotus roots) are from Kashmir and if you have ever eaten those, nothing else comes a close second. The slender, long roots are mild with a great texture. It doesn’t really have a flavor of its own, but takes on the flavors of the spices and yet maintains its individuality. And did I tell you that there is a specific technique involved in eating them?
Well, they are made up of thin stringy hair like fibers. So if you cut and eat them along their length, you won’t see the fibers. But if you cut them diagonally, the hair like strings kind of flow out, which might put you off.
Nadir Yakhin – Lotus Roots in a yogurt sauce
- Lotus roots nadur – 500 gms
- yogurt – 2 cups if using homemade yogurt in India use 3 cups of yogurt
- water – 2 cups plus 2 cups ( one cup for Indian dahi plus 2 cups)
- 1/4 tsp sonth ginger powder
- 2 tbs fennel powder
- Salt to taste
- 2 brown cardamom
- 2 green cardamom
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp dried mint
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp shahi zeera
- 1 tbsp ghee
Cut the lotus roots in 2 inch long pieces and partially cook them in 2 cups of water. You can pressure cook them until tender or boil them until tender.
Whisk the yogurt and add the fennel. Add in the water and blend to mix.
- Cook the yogurt and water mix on high heat and keep stirring until it comes to a rolling boil.
Reduce heat and cook for about 20- 25 minutes until the yogurt thickens slightly.
Add in the partially cooked lotus roots.
- In a tadka pan heat the ghee, add in cumin and the whole spices and cook until lightly fragrant. Add this tadka to the yogurt and lotus root, add salt, the shahi zeera and dried mint and cook on low heat until the sauce thickens to your desired consistency and the lotus roots are cooked through.