Before the invasion of Paneer (cottage cheese) in Sindhi kitchens, Bhee or Lotus stem or kamalkakdi enjoyed the Numero Uno position,where festive food was concerned. Bhee and Dingri (mushrooms) were supposed to be the food for family functions, marriage ceremonies, festivals etc, when nonveg was restricted .
Here is an information about Lotus stem that I collected from few wonderful sites .
Lotus roots (or stem) nourishes the blood, removes blood stasis and improves blood circulation.Consuming the lotus root also helps your liver function effectively. It is highly lauded for strengthening the heart, stomach and spleen. Apparently, drinking uncooked lotus juice can stop internal bleeding and clear “heat” , while the cooked lotus root can treat anemia from heavy menstruation and promote greater energy.(source:The feastcrusade )
The underground(underwater) stem contains moisture 83.80 %, protein 2.70 % , fats 0.11% , starch 9.25 % , sucrose o.41 % and calcium. Vitamin B, vitamin C and aspirin (2 %) are also present in it(source Ayushveda)
The rhizome itself can be eaten raw, or cooked with other vegetables. Its chambers can be stuffed; it can be battered for frying, whole or in slices, finely shredded and squeezed, its juice can be made into a rich, creamy tea that acts to relieve congestion of the sinuses, lungs and intestines. The rhizomes are also dried and ground into a powder to create a somewhat less effective (and much less tasty) tea that is available in most Asian markets.It could be pickled,chips could be sundried and later fried ,it could be baked etc etc.
If you live in an urban area with an Asian market, don’t fail to look for this special food. Look for a firm, pinkish or grayish root. It should NOT have dark spots on it, or soft spots. When sliced, the channels should NOT be ringed with a dark brown or black lining: that is a sign that the root is old and past its usefulness. . In an Asian market, the roots are boxed and wrapped in newspapers or straw, in a cool place, and they remain quite healthy for quite a while that way.(source Geocites)
So here is yet another Sindhi style lotus stem curry made in Spinach gravy, known as Bhee paalak .
Bhee ( bhein/ Lotus stem) Paalak
- Lotus stem (kamalkakdi or bhee) ¼ kg
- Spinach ½kg
- Onions 2 medium sized
- Tomatoes 3
- Garlic 10-12 cloves
- whole Garam masala(Tejpatta 1, cloves -2, daalchini ½ inch stick)
- Green chillies 3 -4
- Salt as per taste
- Coriander powder 1 tsp
- Turmeric powder ½ tsp
- Oil 3 tsp
- Wash, peel and cut lotus stem into thin slanted slices
- Peel and grate onion and add it to pounded ginger,garlic and whole garam masala
- Take some oil in pressure cooker and add onion paste
- Fry it till light pink in colour and add pureed tomatoes along with green chillies
- Add some salt, turmeric powder and coriander powder
- Add chopped spinach and mix properly
- Add little amount of water, close the lid and wait for 3 whistles of cooker
- Now add lotus stem pieces and saute properly for at least 3 minutes
- Add some more water, close the lid and wait for at least 3 whistles. Later check whether bhee is cooked or not, or else cook it further accordingly
- Another option is to boil the bhee first in salted water and then add into spinach and cook on the low flame till bhee absorbs the flavour of spinach