Embracing local, seasonal produce at it's best!! This salad is a very elegant yet simple preparation and is packed with nutrients that most of us don't get too easily in our everyday foods.
Lotus and India have a romance that has been going on for centuries. Lotus, our national flower, and its stems, an utterly beloved ingredient. The stems are used in Ayurveda for its strong aphrodisiac properties. They are a great source of dietary fibre, making it good for digestion. They have a very unique combination of nutrients. They are also a very powerful vasodilator (lowers blood pressure).
Kohlrabi or Knol Khol or Gath Gobhi or German Turnip is one of those seasonal ingredients from the Brassica family (i.e.cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli) that gets missed by most of us quite often. If you get your hands on a batch of fresh and tender kohlrabi, it can be really sweet and juicy. It tastes like an apple but with the characteristic brassica family taste of sulphur. Just like it's family members, Kohlrabi also comes with an array of health benefits. The sulphorane, isothiocyanates, glucosinolates in this entire family of vegetables make them a great addition to our everyday meals. They are great for fighting cancer, improving heart health, promoting gut healing, improving brain power and memory, fat loss and strengthening the immune system.
Arugula or Rocket or Rucola Leaves are every athlete's, dancer's or fitness enthusiast's best friend. Arugula contains nitrous oxide which speeds up post-match or post-event recovery by reducing the muscle soreness.
Celery helps your liver flush out excess toxins. It also helps eliminate extra uric acid that is found in individuals who are obese or are on extremely high protein diets. Some studies also show that celery consumption reduces fat deposition around the liver. Celery also gives an amazing taste and freshness to most salads. It is one of those ingredients, that you really cannot go wrong with.
Carrots one of the best plant-based sources of Vitamin A. Vitamin A is involved in the production of the T4 cells which are like soldiers fighting against any virus or bacteria that pose a threat to your health. Vitamin A is also important for night vision and cell repair.
Interestingly, carrots were originally purple in colour. It is said that the orange carrots were created/promoted for a Dutch king who loved the colour. In the winter season, you can find some purple carrots in most parts of North India. And if you get your hands on it, you must make the "Kali Gajar ki Kanji", it's an absolute delight.
Sesame Seed is another fantastic ingredient for the Indian palate. Sesame is one of the oldest crops to be produced for oil extraction in the world. It originates from India and is exceptionally healthy. It is packed with protein, good fats, calcium, iron, zinc, vitamin E, B vitamins and is surprisingly easy to grow at home. I generally use a combination of black and white sesame seeds. Although I don't like the taste of black sesame seeds, it's nutritional superiority wins hands down. You can read more about it on this link.
Makes - 4 servings
Lotus Stem - 3-4 stems, peeled and sliced
Sesame Seeds - 2 tbsp
Sesame Oil - 1 tbsp
Sugar - 1 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Mirin - 1 tbsp
Water - 1 cup
Heat oil in a pan. Add the sliced lotus stems and cook for a minute. Add in the salt and sugar and cook till the stems soften a little. Add the water, cover the pan, and let it cook on a medium flame for 10 minutes. While the stems are cooking, take a small pan and roast the sesame seeds till they turn greyish brown and start spluttering.
Once the lotus stems are cooked (they should remain crunchy but lose the raw flavour), add in the sesame seeds and take off the flame. Keep aside. This will be added to the salad.
Arugula - 1 bunch
Celery - 2-3 stalks (only the green part)
Kohlrabi (Gathgobhi) - 2, thin slices
Carrot - 1, grated
Lotus stems - as cooked above
Sesame or Olive oil - 2 tbsp
Mirin - 2 tbsp
Light Soya Sauce - 2 tbsp
Salt - to taste
Sesame Seeds - 2 tbsp, roasted
Lime Juice - 1 tbsp
Honey - 1 tbsp
Make the dressing with sesame oil, mirin, light soya sauce, salt, honey, and lime juice.
In the serving bowl, place all the ingredients except the sesame seeds. Toss with the dressing. Taste and adjust flavor as per your palate.
Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top and serve.
I hope you enjoy this salad as much as I did. I will be delighted to see what you make. When you do make it, do click a picture and share it with me on Instagram.