Nadru Yakhni (Lotus Root in Yogurt Sauce)

Lotus Root in Yogurt Sauce (Nadru Yakhni)
Lotus Root in Yogurt Sauce (Nadru Yakhni)
Porous lotus root sops up spiced yogurt gravy in this Kashmiri specialty.Ariana Lindquist

On the lakes that border Srinagar, the summer capital of the state of Jammu and Kashmir in northeast India, there are floating gardens that lake dwellers can tow by boat. To establish new gardens, the farmers usually anchor the soil with tall-stemmed lotus flowers; lotus roots make for a popular food in the region. In this dish, the porous roots are boiled until just tender, then stewed in a spiced yogurt gravy fragrant with dried mint. This recipe, from Ahdoo's Hotel in Srinagar, first appeared in our August/September 2014 special India issue with Betsy Andrews' story Just Before Dawn.

Nadru Yakhni (Lotus Root in Yogurt Sauce)
Porous lotus roots are boiled until just tender, then stewed in a spiced yogurt gravy fragrant with dried mint in this specialty from Kashmir, India.
Yield: serves 4

Ingredients

  • 14 oz. fresh, frozen, or canned lotus root, sliced ½" thick
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 3 cups plain, full-fat yogurt
  • 12 cup besan (chickpea flour)
  • 5 tbsp. ghee
  • 4 cloves garlic, mashed into a paste
  • 1 (1") piece ginger, mashed into a paste
  • 12 small red onion, minced
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • 12 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 3 pods green cardamom
  • 2 pods black cardamom
  • 1 whole clove
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. dried mint

Instructions

  1. Boil lotus in a 4-qt. saucepan of salted water. Reduce heat to medium; cook until tender, 1½–2 hours if fresh, and drain. Whisk yogurt, chickpea flour, and 1½ cups water in a bowl. Add 3 tbsp. ghee to pan; melt over medium-high. Cook garlic, ginger, and onion until golden, 3–4 minutes. Add yogurt mixture; boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until thickened, 8–10 minutes. Stir in lotus, the garam masala, and salt; cook 2 minutes. Melt remaining ghee in an 8" skillet over medium-high. Cook cumin, cardamoms, clove, and cinnamon until aromatic, 1–2 minutes; stir into lotus mixture with mint.