This quick and easy Yogurt Lotus Root Curry – Instant Pot Kashmiri Nadru Yakhni is the answer to your week night dinner. And it is made in the Instant Pot!
What is lotus root/lotus stem?
Even though they are known as lotus “roots”, they are actually the stem of the plant that can grow up to 4 feet, modified for underwater growth. The actual roots are fine and thin and are found below the stem.
The lotus root aka the stem is frequently used as a vegetable in Asian and Indian cuisines within soups and curries. It can also be deep-fried, stir-fried, or braised. Kashmiri’s call it “Nadru”. They are also know as “Kamal Kakdi” or “Bhein” in India.
In Kashmiri cuisine, “Nadru” is cooked in several ways. It is often combined with fish, collard greens, potatoes, spinach, or just by itself as a curry. It is also deep fried.
Lotus roots are a good source of dietary fiber and vitamins and they look like an edible snowflake. They have a crunchy and delicate flavor.
They are available in Asian stores in the vegetable aisle. I typically buy mine from H-Mart.
What is yakhni?
Yakhni is a yogurt-based curry and is a signature Kashmiri dish. Some of the popular Yakhni dishes in Kashmiri cuisine include goat/lamb yakhni, chicken yakhni, lotus root (nadru) yakhni, mushroom yakhni, and several others. Yakhni is extremely delicious and does not contain red chili powder (cayenne pepper) or ground turmeric. Yakhni is made by adding whole spices such as dried bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon stick, black and green cardamom pods. Some of the ground spices used for Yakhni include ground fennel, ground ginger, asafoetida, and garam masala. Cumin seeds are used. Yogurt is key in making Yakhni. The yogurt needs to be at room temperature and whipped really well. I typically like to add 2 teaspoons of rice flour into the yogurt and whip it together. The rice flour makes the yakhni consistency thick.
What ingredients do I need to make Yogurt Lotus Root Curry – Instant Pot Kashmiri Nadru Yakhni?
An instant pot of-course!
Ground fennel, ground ginger, asafoetida, garam masala, cumin seeds, dried bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon stick, dried fenugreek leaves, black and green cardamom pods.
The yogurt needs to be at room temperature and whipped well with a spoon for about a minute. It needs to be taken out of the refrigerator in a bowl at least an hour before cooking. This step is key to prevent curdling of the yogurt. The yogurt does not need to be pressure cooked. Instead, it will be added gradually to the pressure-cooked curry. I add rice flour to the yogurt and mix it well. The yogurt/rice flour mix needs to be added slowly with a large ladle or spoon, and MIXED each time it is added to the pressure cooked curry. The added yogurt/rice flour mix needs to be mixed with the gravy for at least a minute each time it is added to the gravy. Full fat plain yogurt works best for this recipe.
How are we going to make Yogurt Lotus Root Curry – Instant Pot Kashmiri Nadru Yakhni?
First rinse and peel the lotus roots well. Chop them into round pieces. I typically soak them in water for 5 minutes after they are chopped to clean them well. I used two small lotus roots for this recipe. Roughly 3 cups washed and chopped.
Mix the rice flour and yogurt (at room temperature). Whip it with a spoon for about a minute. This step is key. This prevents the curdling of the yogurt and makes the consistency thick. The yogurt needs to be at room temperature. So keep the yogurt out of the refrigerator for at-least an hour before you start prepping.
Firstly, select sauté, add the oil and whole spices (cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon stick cut into a 2 inch piece, black cardamom pods, green cardamom pods, caraway seeds, and asafoetida) into the inner pot.
Further, when the cumin seeds splutter add the lotus roots. Next, sauté the lotus roots for about 2 minutes. And stir occasionally in order to prevent them from burning.
Furthermore, add in ground fennel, ground ginger, water, and salt. Again, stir well. In addition, make sure nothing is stuck to the bottom of the pot and scrape the bottom of the pot well.
Further, close the lid with the pressure release valve sealed. Cook at high pressure/manual for 4 minutes. When cooking is complete quick release the pressure. Select sauté and add the yogurt and rice flour mix one large spoon at a time. Keep mixing the gravy.
As soon as you add the spoon of yogurt and rice flour mix the gravy well for about 1 minute. Keep repeating until you finish adding all the yogurt and mixing for a minute every time you add the yogurt. The mixing step is key to prevent curdling of the yogurt.
Let it sauté for 4 to 5 minutes until the gravy thickens. Keep stirring occasionally. Finally, top it off with garam masala and dried fenugreek leaves.
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Yogurt Lotus Root Curry – Instant Pot Kashmiri Nadru Yakhni
- 2 small to mid sized lotus roots (roughly 3 cups chopped)
- 1 cup plain full fat yogurt at room temperature whipped with a spoon (keep it out of the refrigerator for one hour before you start cooking)
- 2 tsp rice flour
- 4 tbsp oil of choice
- 2 whole cloves (laung)
- 2 dried bay leaf (tej patta)
- 1 cinnamon stick 2 inch piece (dalchini)
- 2 whole black cardamom pods (badi elachi)
- 1 to 2 whole green cardamom pods (hari elaichi)
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp asafoetida (heeng)
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp ground fennel (saunf powder)
- 1 tbsp ground ginger (sonth)
- 1 and 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 2 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi optional)
- Keep the yogurt in a bowl out of the refrigerator for an hour until it reaches room temperature.
- Whisk the yogurt and rice flour with a spoon for about a minute or two until it is well blended. Keep it aside.
- Rinse, peel, and chop the lotus root into round 1 to 1.5 inch pieces. Soak them in water for a few minutes. That will enable them to rinse well.
- Select sauté on the instant pot and adjust to normal.
- Add oil to the pot.
- When the oil is hot, add cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, black and green cardamom pods, caraway seeds, and asafoetida.
- When the cumin seeds splutter add the lotus root.
- Sauté the lotus root for about 2 minutes. Stir.
- Add water, ground fennel, ground ginger, and salt. Stir.
- Make sure nothing is stuck to the bottom of the pot and scrape the bottom of the pot well.
- Press cancel.
- Secure the lid on the pot and close the pressure-release valve.
- Select manual and cook at high pressure for 4 minutes.
- When cooking is complete, use quick pressure release to depressurize. Open the lid.
- Select sauté and add the whisked yogurt mixed with rice flour slowly (one spoon at a time) to the pot mixing it continuously. This step is key. Add one large spoon of yogurt/rice flour mix and mix it in the gravy for about a minute. Then another spoon and stir again for up-to a minute. Keep doing this until you run out of the yogurt/rice flour mix. The continual mixing will prevent curdling of the yogurt.
- When you are done adding all the yogurt mix, add garam masala and dried fenugreek leaves. Stir and let it sauté for about 3 to 4 minutes until the gravy thickens. Yakhni has a lot of gravy but the yogurt will thicken it. Keep stirring occasionally. Press cancel when the required consistency for the yakhni is reached.
- Transfer to a serving bowl. Discard the bay leaves.
- Serve over steamed rice.