Lotus stem is an edible part of the lotus root which grows underwater in the mud. They store energy for the lotus plant in the form of starch like the potatoes. It has a crunchy white flesh and water chestnut like flavour.
It is consumed by a select section of the society in various forms. Fresh lotus stem is cooked into vegetables, curries or can also be pickled. It is also fried like chips or can be pickled into achars.
The fresh stem is very low in kcal., and high in vitamin C- which increases our immunity and helps in collagen synthesis as well as acts as an antioxidant.
It also is a good source of B-6 or pyridoxine which is a co-enzyme to neuro–synthesis in the brain. It influences the mood and helps decrease irritability and relieves tension. B-6 also controls blood homocysteine levels and hence helps in the prevention of heart attack.
It is also a good source of copper, iron, potassium. It also has a good sodium-potassium ratio and hence very good for people who have high blood pressure. Fresh lotus stem is a good source of fibre and hence easies digestive mobility and improves bowel health preventing colon or intestinal cancers.
It is a good source of tryptophan and hence increases blood serotonin levels which is a feel- good hormone.
The dry lotus stem is a concentrated source of calcium (405mg/100g) and iron (60mg/100g). If compared with a reliable source like spinach, which gives 1.7 mg/100g; dry lotus stem is a highly concentrated source of iron and if combined with a vitamin C, it can eliminate anaemia symptoms in any person. It also influences bone strength and density and also production of haemoglobin and myoglobin.
Lotus stem has various benefits and worth including in our regular diets. It is commonly known as ‘bhein’ or ‘kamal kakdi’ in the north Dry or frozen lotus stem are available in supermarkets.
Here is a recipe that you can try:
Peel, slice and steam the lotus stem, peas and potatoes. In a vessel, heat oil, add chopped onions, tomatoes and some ginger-garlic paste. Sauté; add salt, haldi and chilli powder. Add the boiled vegetables and some garam masala. Serve hot with rotis.
You could also make tikkis or koftas using grated stems. The beauty of lotus stem is such that it blends with lots of vegetables and can be cooked in lots of different ways!
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