Bengalis are obsessed with food. They make almost everything worth eating. Sarika shares the recipe of lotus stem, in the weekly column, exclusively in Different Truths.
There is a saying, we Bengalis eat to live and live to eat. We are connected globally with a common thread, food. In fact, food is always on Bengalis’ minds. We are always ready to discuss food. For example, during rainy days we need khichuri and fries, if there is Hilsha fry, than it is bonus. During winter, dumplings, fresh vegetables followed by pitha and puli.
Every season is meant to be different flavours and tastes of food.
Even food distinctly divides the people from one region to the other, like Bangal (people of East Bengal, now Bangladesh) and Ghoti (those from West Bengal). By far Ghoti’s favourites are prawns, and Hilsha is for Bangal – I grew up with this view. Here, I am not going to discuss this love-hate relationship between Bangal and Ghoti, but we will focus on the delicious food.
We are also known for eating everything, like leaves, stalks, and peels, which are used in cooking. It’s a good, cheap source of nutrition. For example, peels of bottle gourd or potato skin. My non-Bengali friends used to make fun of me saying, you guys eat everything. Yes, we do, but we make it worth eating.
Well, let me talk about today’s recipe, last Sunday I prepared Lotus Stem. It is one dish which is not common in Bengali household, I tasted for the first time in a restaurant in Pune, named Kamal kakri ki sabji. And as I said, we eat almost everything. It was a success story for me, when my family relished it.
Honey Chilli Lotus Stem
Sliced lotus stem a packet around 200 gm
Honey: 1 tb spoon
Tomato ketchup, say around 40 ml
Oi(i used chilli oil) half tb spoon
Vinegar 1 tea spoon
Corn flour, 1tb spoon
Maida: 1/3 tb spoon
Oil: 60 ml
Ginger (chopped): 1 tea spoon
Dry red chili (diced): 2 to 3
Take a mixing bowl
Add cut lotus stems with two spoons of butter.
Mix it well and now add corn flour and coat it properly
Fry like potato chips, I mean like crispy
Then take a pan bring to heat.
Add 1 table spoon of oil
Just burn the dry red chillies
Now, add sliced ginger and all the sauces & seasoning
Cook the sauce for few seconds
Add fried lotus stems
Finally, Toss with diced spring onion leafs.
Transfer to a small plate
Garnish with the way you like.
©Sarika Sarkar Das
Photos by the author.
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