The lotus root known as bhay/bhae/bhein in Sindhi and kanwal kakri in Urdu/Hindi is an indigenous vegetable grown in interior Sindh and used widely in Sindhi cuisine. I had it for the first time at my husband’s house. It’s a staple vegetable which mostly is consumed in its own salan (curry), sometimes with potatoes and as pakoras (gram fritters).
It’s something that my husband has grown up eating, and I really wanted to try making it for him. It took quite a few tries but I finally managed to make a couple of recipes that he loves.
This vegetable is only found at limited sabzi wala’s in Karachi. The places where I was successful in finding it were Imtiaz supermarket, Delhi colony and Jumaraat bazaar (Thursday Bazaar) near Boat Basin. Other sabzi wala’s may also have it.
Cleaning lotus root / bhae
Bhae is grown in mud, which is why every single piece one buys will be covered in it. Scrape it off with a knife and then wash it carefully making sure it’s completely clean.
Cutting lotus root/ bhae
Bhae is known for it’s particular ‘raisha’ / ‘laces’ / ‘threads’ that are exposed when bitten apart. In order to get that taste, it needs to be cut on the diagonal before cooking.
- 3 bhae or lotus root, mud scraped and cleaned.
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped into quarters
- 4 tablespoons oil
- 1 teaspoon ginger paste
- 1 teaspoon garlic paste
- 2 onions, sliced
- 1 tomato, finely chopped (quantity can be increased. Husband doesn’t like tomatoes so I add less)
- 1 teaspoon coriander (dhaniya) powder
- 1 teaspoon red chili power
- 1 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 – 2 tablespoon tamarind paste (adjust to taste)
- Green chili, for garnish
- Coriander, for coriander
- Chaat Masala, for garnish
- Clean and cut the lotus root / bhae diagonally. Boil in salted water for about 20 – 25 minutes. The cooking time depends on the thickness of the bhae but ideally, a knife should be able to pass through the stems.
- Wash, peel and cut the potatoes into small cubes. Soak in water, if cooking after a while so that they don’t turn black.
- Heat oil. Add ginger and garlic paste. Fry for 30 seconds and then add sliced onions.
- Cook onions till medium brown, but not burnt. Add tomatoes along with coriander powder, red chili powder, turmeric and salt. Cook for about 8-10 minutes till tomatoes are soft.
- Add potatoes along with water (about ½ cup – 1 cup depending on preferred amount of gravy). Cook till potatoes are soft.
- Add lotus root / bhae along with tamarind pulp. Cook for about 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings if required.
- Add green chilies and coriander. Keep on stove for 2-3 minutes till flavor infuses.
- Sprinkle with chaat masala and serve hot with roti.
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