Lately at the Waki Farmers Market I find interesting and unidentified plant stalks. I don’t know what they are, so obviously I want them. I’m told that they’re lotus stem, and that they can be cooked, or rubbed with salt and eaten raw. You may be acquainted with the lotus root (a rhizome, though sometimes called a tuber), but this is something entirely different that I’ve never previously encountered.
The lotus stalk has a light green skin and white flesh. It will stay fresh in the refrigerator for over a week. The entire lotus plant is edible, so think about that the next time you’re hungry and walking past the lotus fields of Iwakuni. Did I mention that our new home is surrounded by acres of lotus fields?
The lotus is considered sacred in both Japanese and Indian cultures. The stem and seed are used extensively in Indian medicine. Lotus is beneficial for all doshas, and is considered a rejuvenating food. It is a beautiful local crop and I’m looking forward to getting some hands-on experiences in its harvest.
- 1 tbsp ghee
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 can organic diced tomatoes diced
- 1 lotus stalk, peeled and sliced
- 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
- 3 dried red chilies
- 1 tbsp black mustard seed
- 1 tbsp crushed coriander
- 1 tsp cumin
- 3 cups water
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Salt to taste
- Rice to serve over
Heat the ghee and add the onion. Cook until the onion is almost translucent. Add the black mustard seed, crushed coriander, and cumin. Cook until the black mustard seed becomes fragrant. Add the lentils, tomatoes, and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. When the lentils are becoming soft, add the lotus stalk and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Mix in the lemon juice. Salt to taste. Serve this curry over rice. For a knockout meal, include a lotus stalk raita.
Ayurvedic notes: This was pretty heating. If you have pitta in your constitution, cut back on the chilies and add some cilantro leaf.
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