Every family has different Ramazan traditions and unique dishes they love to eat during the month and Images is no different. This Ramazan, we wanted to share with you some recipes that are close to our hearts.
Being Sindhi and growing up surrounded by friends with a different mother tongue, I was aware lotus root stems or bhee (as we refer to them) are not consumed by others like they are at our home. Many have not even had the fortune of coming across this glorious vegetable, which is also spelt beh, while we've been enjoying its versatility in whatever form it can be consumed. From complementing the protein source in our salan to being marinated in zesty yoghurt paste and fried to these stuffed, tangy pakoras, bhee is the elite veggie at our home and these pakoras reign over our iftar table every year.
In recent years, people have at least acknowledged the existence of this gem, which I reckon is thanks to the hot pot craze that took over during the pandemic (one of the sides include chopped lotus root stems). This is a leap from people looking at me like I was talking about food I illegally imported from Mars every time I'd mention bhee.
Despite knowing what they are, people still are not fully aware of the ways the stems can be utilised to send their taste buds into an ecstatic frenzy so I bring you my mother's pakoras that have all of our hearts in a hold and stomachs craving more.
2 lotus roots stems
½ bunch of coriander
4-5 tbsp chickpea flour
Salt (to taste)
Red chilli powder (to taste)
½ tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp baking soda
Add water to a sizeable dollop of tamarind, mix and set aside.
Peel the mud off of the lotus root stems and remove the leftover mud by scraping it off with a knife. Wash thoroughly and cut into small cylindrical pieces. Boil the pieces in slightly salted water until soft enough to cut smoothly with a knife — do not let them turn into mush. They need to feel solid.
Cut slits into the pieces to fill with stuffing — this ideally should be done after boiling, that’s how my mother does it but the pakoras will survive even if you accidentally do it before, like I did.
For the stuffing, remove the seeds from the tamarind water and grind a chopped tomato with coriander. Combine the tamarind water with the ground mixture and add salt and red chilli powder according to taste (this can be prepared while the stems boil).
Prepare the pakora batter by mixing chickpea flour, an egg, salt, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, cumin seeds, baking soda and some water.
Add a generous amount of stuffing to each lotus root piece, coat with pakora batter and deep fry.
Enjoy the tangy lotus root pakoras with the leftover stuffing!
This is part of a four-part series on recipes close to our hearts at Images.