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Spicy lotus root (Dum nadru)

Updated: Apr 25, 2021

One of my favorite vegetables is lotus root. I love the slightly crunchy texture and the subtle flavor it has. I always order it when I see it on a restaurant menu, and have begun to cook it more at home.

This recipe brings us a traditional curry and cooking method. "Dum" or "Dum Phukt", It is an ancient technique developed during the Mughal era, wherein the ingredients are sealed in a pot and cooked over low heat. The method allows the dish to "breathe" in its own steam, allowing the ingredients to absorb all the flavors of the dish. This technique is mainly seen in briyanis, and slow cooked meat dishes, but is now becoming more common with vegetables too. More on Dum cooking here.

‘This is a wonderful vegetarian cookbook from Pushpesh Pant. The recipes here step out of the standard Indian fare, each one delicious. Like this recipe, the book is packed with recipes from across India.

For more recipes from this cookbook click here.


3-4 tablespoons oil or ghee

1 lb lotus root, cut into quarter circles

1 cup peas, frozen, or 1 cup edamame, frozen OR

1/2 lb potatoes, peeled and cut into small bite sized pieces.

A pinch of asafoetida

4 whole cloves

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1-2 green chilies, minced, or to taste

1 teaspoon chili powder. Or to tatste

2 teaspoons coriander powder

1 teaspoon ginger paste

1 teaspoon dried ground ginger powder (soont)

1 teaspoon garam masala

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 cup water

Salt to taste

2 tablespoons cilantro, minced

I usually buy cleaned and poached lotus root in the frozen section of the Asian market. Add the lotus roots to a pot with wate and simmer for 15 minutes till they are cooked but still retain a slight crunch. Drain and set aside.

Add the oil/ghee to a pot on medium heat and add the cumin seeds, whole cloves and asafoetida. Stir for 30 seconds and add the lotus root and potatoes, if using. Stir fry on medium-high heat till the potatoes are golden in color.

Add the rest of the ingredients including the peas or edamame if you are not using potatoes, and mix well. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring gently occasionally.

Serve topped with minced cilantro.

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