Vost Haakh t, Nadir ( Lotus stems with Amaranth leaves)

From the land of dreamers, poets, artists, emperors and saints comes a cuisine that inspires all your senses.

Modern Kashmiri cuisine  tracks its history to 15th century when Timur ( a Turco-Mongol conqueror)  invaded India which led to the migration of 1700 skilled woodcarvers, weavers, architects, calligraphers and cooks from Samarkand to the valley of Kashmir.

The descendants of these cooks, the Wazas, are the master chefs of Kashmir. Thus came an elaborate feast preparation called Wazwaan. “Waan” refers to a “shop” in Kashmiri.

Nadru or Lotus stems/roots are a delicious curious vegetable very popular in Kashmir (India). They are often fried and served as a street snack food. For the dinner table, the 2 most popular recipes are Nadru Yakhni (yogurt sauce)  and Nadru Palak ( Spinach). This recipe is a variation of the latter but you can try our the delicious yogurt recipe in my earlier post or my step by step guide on wikihow

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Lotus Stem is very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper and Manganese, and a very good source of Vitamin C.

In this recipe I have the closest I could find to Vost Haakh or Wousta Haakh (red kashmiri spinach). Our local international market carries an abundance on “Shen choy” and I have fallen in love with it. These are Amaranth leaves and need to be washed through and picked off the stems. They impart this beautiful red color to your broth.

The ingredients are simple and the recipe is simple. I always use a pressure cooker with root vegetables as it locks in the ingredients and saves time but you can use a heavy bottomed pan.

I have served it with onion relish

I have served it with white rice and red onion chutney with cilantro and mint ( will post the recipe).

Take the time to make this and you will love it.

Ingredients are as follows, please adjust to taste

  • 2-3 mid size lotus stems
  • I big bunch of Shen Choy ( red spinach)
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp fennel powder
  • 2 black cardamoms
  • 4 green cardamoms
  • 1 clove
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp red chili powder ( adjust to taste)
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tbsp mustard oil
  • 1 chopped shallot
  • Salt to taste

Heres how to cook it:

  • Pick the leaves of the spinach from the stems and wash thoroughly
  • Scrape of lightly peel the tope layer of the lotus stem.
  • Slice the Lotus Stems in 1/4 inch slices and wash thoroughly
  • Add 1 tsp of mustard oil to a pressure cooker and heat until smoking. Add the lotus stems with some salt and 1/2 tsp turmeric powder. Add 1 cup water and pressure cook for about 5-6 whistles. Remove from cooker ( liquid and all) and keep aside.
  • Using the same cooker,  add mustard oil  and heat until smoking
  • Add chopped shallots and the garlic
  • Fry of a minute and add the greens
  • Add salt and Fry the green until completely wilted
  • Add cardamoms, ginger powder, fennel powder cumin and cloves
  • Pressure cook for about 2 whistles
  • Remove the cooker cover and add the turmeric and chili powder and fry a little
  • Add the cooked lotus stems and about 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook for 10 mins.
  • This has a beautiful and unique flavor and is best served with rice.

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