A Sindhi’s love for Lotus stem dates back to pre-partition era and our forefathers loved the nutty flavored, woodsy looking, stringy/hairy stem of Lotus flower so much that they started cultivating it here in India, around their homes, and hence this Lotus stem or Bhee is still found mostly in Sindhi dominated areas.Those who grew up in areas like Ulhasnagar, Chembur, Khar, Pune, Indore or such other Sindhi populated places, might have tasted, the stuffed Bhee tikki. A signature Sindhi snack, Bheeyah Ji tikki, is now hardly available in Sindhi eateries and is seldom cooked at homes.
I still remember those days when we used to buy this tikki from Pakora vendors.The shop of Ballu Uncle in Ulhasnagar camp 4, was so popular because of his Bheeya ji tikki, that it became a landmark for areas around, and the lane opposite to his shop, was known by his name. In the evening, the hot crispy, spicy stuffed lotus stem tikkis, with green chutney, attracted not only the locals but also the people from far and wide.The Man is no more, neither is his shop, but the taste of Bhee tikkis lingers on.
This week I received yet another batch of amazingly fresh lotus root/stem from my Mother-in-law along with my favorite fresh green garlic and I instantly craved for some Bhee tikkis. And oh ! there are some fresh turnips and freshly milled Jowar flour that she packed for me, so Chithyal ghogrun and Juar jo dodo shall be my lunch tomorrow ;-). Thank you Ma 🙂
The lotus stem must be cleaned properly, boiled and then stuffed with the mixture of greens. You can use regular garlic, but this time I used fresh green garlic, that imparts more verdant flavor. The besan batter coated tikkis could be fried completely at one go, if you wish to make it less sinful. But Sindhis have this evil affinity for double frying their snacks for the sake of enjoying crispy and crunchy munchies ;-). So pick your choice !
Heading towards the recipe of Sindhi Bhee Tikki, here we go…
- Bheeya/bhein (Kamalkakdi or Lotus stem) 250 gm
- Coriander leaves ½ cup
- Green chillies 4-5
- Chopped Fresh green garlic 2 tbsp
- Turmeric powder ¼ spoon
- Coriander Powder 2 tsp
- Amchoor (Optional) ¼ tsp
- Salt as per taste
- Gram flour (Besan) 1 small cup
- Salt as per taste
- Red chilli powder ½ tsp
- Baking soda a pinch
- Oil for frying
- Wash thoroughly the lotus stem and cut it into pieces, each about 2 inches long.
- Now boil these in a pressure cooker with some salt and water, till almost done. Depending upon the quality of lotus stem, the time to cook varies.To soften the stem faster add few drops of oil or sindhi papad while boiling. The lotus stem that I used, was fresh and of good quality. I put it on low flame for 4 minutes after one whistle (of pressure cooker) and it was just perfect to stuff and fry.
- Meanwhile mix chopped coriander leaves, green chillies and chopped fresh garlic in mortar-pestle (Hamam Dasta) and pound it to obtain a coarse mixture.Please do not grind it.
- Add salt, turmeric powder, coriander powder, amchoor powder (optional) and mix it properly
- Take each piece of boiled lotusstem, slit it vertically and stuff the mixture properly.
- Now take besan in a bowl, add some salt, red chilly powder and baking soda and mix it properly. Add water to make a batter of thick consistency
- Dip each stuffed lotusstem piece in batter and coat it properly.
- Fry it in hot oil on medium flame for a while, then take it out and press a little in between your palms (carefully so as to not break it) and fry again till crisp and golden colour.Repeat the procedure for remaining pieces
- Serve this Bheeya ji tikki with coriander and mint chutney or any chutney of your choice.
- Goes well with Dal rice, or Tidali dal