Lotus stem is one vegetable vegetarians like a lot. Called as bhien, nadru or kamal kakdi in local parlance, it is the under water stem of the lotus plant. Very nutritious and very tasty, although sometimes it is difficult to clean it from inside but those who love it just get it done anyhow. This dopyaza will remind you of the chicken or mutton dopyaza that is cooked in many UP homes.
The nutritional value of lotus stem is well known and it is a good thing that most people like the taste of this healthy vegetable.
Using lot of onions and some whole spices is a popular way of using spices in hot summer months. This way the curries remain light, the quantity of onion balanced the spice heat and the curry doesn't feel too hot in summer heat. The plains of UP get quite hot in summer months and it lasts till the monsoons make the whether a bit pleasant.
Lotus stem can be cooked almost like meats and if you use the same spices the resulting curry is actually comparable to meat dishes. Obviously if you want to get the taste of meat you will be disappointed but vegetarians wont miss anything. In UP vegetarian homes whenever people want something special, that is apart from he usual green vegetables, they turn to jack fruit, lotus stem or some of the koftas that are made with much fanfare. Many types of besan ki subzi is also made for those who detest vegetables. A special dry gatte ki subzi is peculiar to Banaras and I am yet to post that one. Paneer is almost an everyday affair in most homes since I remember but elders say that paneer was not so common in older days.
Even lotus stem makes good koftas but somehow I never make koftas as I don't find them worth the time and effort. This blog only has one kofta recipe that was posted because that kele ka kofta had become the talk of our extended family when I had made a brave effort to cook them at a special occasion. I remember my mother used to love bhien ka kofta quite a lot.
This dopyaza is one of the curries that remind me of my childhood. Actually there are very few that I cook as most of them use a lot of oil and frying so I avoid them. Not just for being heavy, they require more cooking time as well. Dopyaza fits the bill. Kathal ka dopyaza is one of the most popular recipes on this blog.
So how do you cook bhein ka dopyaza? Not complicated at all.
(2-4 servings depending on other side dishes served)
peeled and diced lotus stem 2 cups (about 200 gm)
sliced red onions 1.5 cup
whole dry red chillies 3-4 (broken if you want the curry hot)
black cadamoms 2
green cardamoms 4
cinnamon stick one inch piece
whole peppercorns 1 tsp
salt to taste
turmeric powder 1/2 tsp (many people omit turmeric powder)
mustard oil 2 tbsp (or a bit less if you can manage cooking the curry on really low flame)
Heat the mustard oil in a pressure cooker pan or a thick base kadhai.
Tip in all the whole spices and let them sizzle for a few seconds but don't let them splutter.
Add the sliced onions, salt turmeric powder if using and the diced lotus stem all at once. Toss a few times to mix everything well.
Cover the lid and let the curry cook really slow at very low flame for about 30 minutes in a kadhai or just put the pressure cooker lid if using the gadget and pressure cook till the first whistle blows.
Let the pressure release on its own, serve hot as desired. We used to love this with paranthas in our childhood but now it is more of multigrain roti or sometimes a plain flaky crisp parantha with it.
It is another matter if I cook besan wali bhien ki subzi. That I can eat all by itself.