Have you tried lotus root? Any day now, I feel like it’s going to become the new it-product at Bikanervala’s. I can see the branding now: “A healthy veggie with a fun wheel shape and plenty of nooks and crannies for sauce!” But until the vegetable catches its big break, you can find it in open market or mother dairy stores sold in presliced, frozen wheels. All you have to do is dump them in a pan and be patient. In this recipe, lotus root is paired with lots of tomatoes, which become super sweet and jam-like as they sweat in the pan, plus a potent, aromatic combo of cardamom and cloves. Remember that lotus root ’s natural texture is pretty firm even when it’s cooked through—think water chestnuts or barely cooked potatoes, but in the best way possible. And if you don’t feel like buying the lotus root (as many of my recipe testers told me), just make the jammy tomatoes and call it a day—they make an addictive spread or even a pasta sauce.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 5 whole cloves
- Seeds from 3 green cardamom pods, crushed into a powder, or ¾ teaspoon ground cardamom (freshly ground is best)
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
- 4 medium Roma tomatoes, finely diced
- 1 small Indian green chile or serrano chile, finely chopped
- One 12-ounce package frozen sliced lotus root (¼-inch-thick discs are ideal; about 3 cups)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more if needed
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (stems and leaves), for garnish
How to make Lotus Root recipe with Jammy Tomatoes
- In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the cumin seeds and cook until they turn a medium shade of brown, about 1 minute max. Swirl in the turmeric and add the cloves, cardamom, and onion. Spread the onion in an even layer in the pan and cook until it just starts to caramelize, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Increase the heat to high, add the tomatoes and chile, and cook, stirring continuously, until the tomatoes become soft and mushy, 4 to 6 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the lotus root and salt, mixing them thoroughly into the tomato-onion mixture.
- Cover and cook for 30 to 35 minutes, until the lotus root is slightly soft and has a texture resembling a barely cooked potato (note that the lotus root will never become completely soft). Taste and adjust the salt if needed, then remove the skillet from the heat and let the dish sit for 10 minutes.
- Lotus Root with Jammy Tomatoes is ready to be served, Garnish with the cilantro before serving.
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