Nadru palak sabji – Lotus root and spinach curry

spinach and lotus root curry
With innumerable lakes and ponds adding natural beauty reflecting the mighty Himalayan range, only one thing added beauty to them. The water lilies and the beautiful lotus. This is what you look forward to seeing in Kashmir.
Needless to say, the fibrous rhizome quickly became the favourite vegetable. It literally populates most home-style cooking recipes of this zone. The combination of this fibrous earthy element with the goodness of good old spinach brings out the gentleness of the Kashmiri cuisine. Always served warm to beat the cold weather, the palak nadru is one of the absolute home-style recipes

Palak and pahadi palak

Palak is the best equivalent for the English spinach. Mild in flavour smooth in texture to cook with the palak is one of the easiest spinach to clean and cook with.
The Indian palak has smooth leaf edges and this is a characteristic difference with Pahadi palak( from the mountains). Pahadi palak has distinctly serrated edges and still has a soft texture. For a quick reference they look like bigger arugula leaves, but totally lack the pepperiness of arugula. Recently i discovered that the nearest Asian grocer stocks this so have collected and cleaned them (unfortunately missed to take a picture). Blanched, chopped and frozen during meal prep weekend makes it so ready for me to add it to the stir fry on a busy morning. The pahadi palak does bring out a lot more nativity go the dish (or so I feel),if you cant find any go with the regular English spinach. They will work well too.

The choice for me this time to participate in the A- Z recipe challenge with recipes was either lemons or lotus root. Being exotic and that it excites me to bring this one more to you, guess what wins, the rhizome of course. The blogger buddies at A- Z recipe challenge work to create and bring forth a collection of loving recipes pertaining to that alphabet. I cant wait to see the collection of lotus root recipes that are going to come up!! The group was an initiation by Vidya and Jolly, both regular bloggers and has stood the test of time with quality recipes. you will find some more posts with the same mention as we have come a long way from Alphabet A. 
English spinach

Lotus rhizome- Cleaning and preservation

The fleshy lotus rhizome is seasonal at an Asian grocer. The most difficult part of making anything with lotus root is cleaning the silt off it. So here is what I do to prep them.
Gentle scrubbing the surface works to get off most of the sticky mud. Then slice them into chunks and check the inside. The wheels shaped inside is often filled with silt. Soak it in water and gently run water through them. That should get most of it out. Now there are some stubborn clay bits. Here is my trick, I warp a bit of cotton around a long thin bamboo skewer and run it through the holes. This dislodges the clay. Give it another good wash and drain well. 
Slice it all and blanch them in water boiling with a bit of salt and turmeric. Drain and freeze in portions ready to use. They are good to be added into any curry. This is such an easy way yo get dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes when you had a long day.
In case you have too much of lotus root, here is what more to do with them. 
There we are, it is been long scorching summer, yet now running an absolute angry downpour here and perfect for that warmth of the curry. Hope you enjoy making palak nadru for dinner soon. Scroll down for the recipe. Just in case you need to cook for more or less number of people add it to the number of servings and it will automatically calculate the change for you, some tech goodness incorporated!!! Let me know if you like it. 
See you soon.
spinach and lotus root curry

Nadru palak sabji

Lotus root and spinach curry
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Dish, sidedish, Traditional
Cuisine Autumn, diabetic friendly, gluten free, Indian, One pot, Spring, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian, Winter
Servings 6 people


vegetables needed

  • 1 kg Spinach ( palak / pahadi palak)
  • 400 grams lotus root ( follow instructions above to clean)

masala ingredients

  • 2-3 tbsp mustard oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp black cumin ( not nigella / Kalonji seeds, just kala jeera)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp red chili powder 9 i use the kashmiri chilli powder, less spicy: use paprika if you cant find it)
  • 1 tbsp fennel seed powder
  • 1 tbsp dry ginger powder
  • 1 pinch Asafoetida


  • Wash clean and slice the lotus root. soak in water and set aside.
  • Wash, clean and finely chop or mince the palak and set aside
  • Into a heated pan add the oil followed by the cumin and the black cumin.
  • Once they start sizziling add the sliced lotus roots and saute them till well roasted.
  • Remove them from the oil and set aside.
  • Add the palak prepared into the remaining oil and fry off on gentle heat.
  • Add the salt, chilli powder, fennel seed powder, dry ginger powder and the hing and toss it around well.
  • Now add the lotus roots back again mix it in well.
  • Add a bit of water if the palak does not release much water, say Half a cup.
  • Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Open the lid and mix around to see if excess water remains. If not the curry is ready.
  • Serve hot with rotis or naans.


This preparation is perfectly adaptable for a pressure cooker or instant pot. If so add in about a cup of water and you can have it in a curry form.
If freezing this recipe it stays well for about 2 months.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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Shobha Keshwani
4 years ago

We have this in our Sindhi Cuisine too. Very healthy and tasty dish

Niranjana Sankaranarayanan
4 years ago

Lotus root is an unique ingredient and nice to know a sabji made with it. Also the detailed explanation about cleaning the lotus root will help many. We make vathal with lotus root – thamarai kizhangu vathal. I haven’t tried making sabji with it. Loved the combination of Spinach and Lotus root. Lovely recipe…

Rafeeda - The Big Sweet Tooth
Rafeeda - The Big Sweet Tooth
4 years ago

I have never tried lotusroot till now and am intrigued as to how it would taste… must try it when I am in a mood to experiment… 🙂 I love spinach with any of vegetables… always super delicious…

The Girl Next Door
4 years ago

Wow! The sabzi sounds so simple, yet so packed with flavour. I never thought you could use spinach and lotus stem in this way. Would love to try this out some time.

Vanitha Bhat
4 years ago

Such a simple yet delicious curry! Although lotus roots are not easily available where I live right now, will definitely try this delicious curry (especially in combination with spinach) when I do get a hold of it! The clicks are just gorgeous dear! Beautiful share for the theme.

Poonam Bachhav
4 years ago

I do cook lotus stem in onion tomato gravy. Your version with spinach sounds interesting !

Mayuri Patel
4 years ago

Nadru or lotus stem is definitely a regular on my sister in law’s table. The first time I tried it, I didn’t like the fibrous bits in my mouth. Slowly getting to like this healthy stem. Love how you’ve combined lotus stem and spinach. And thanks for the useful tips on how to clean the stems.

4 years ago

Spinach and Lotus root Subzi looks so inviting Seema. I love lotus root preparations and my Nani used to make lot of different dishes with it.. hardly get Lotus root here. will love to try this one whenever I get it.

4 years ago

This is the vegetable i never tasted. The combination of lotus root with spinach surely makes the curry healthy.

Sujata Roy
4 years ago

Lotus root with spinach sounds superbly delicious and nutritious. A completely new recipe for me. Loved the way you explained cleaning to cooking. I would love to try this flavorful and mouthwatering dish.

4 years ago

Lotus roots I just love them in curries or as stir fried but have not seen here. This spinach and lotus root curry sounds delicious, Full of flavors. Nice to see how you shared the cleaning process of these roots. Great .

4 years ago

Lotus root and spinach combo sounds interesting and healthy. The detailed explanation and cleaning tips are so helpful and gives me confidence to try this new ingredient.

Vidya Narayan
4 years ago

Why add paneer or tofu when you can add Lotus Roots to the spinach Curry right? Healthy, hearty and delicious main course veg for all your Indian Breads and Rice too. Seema, I agree about the cleaning part for this vegetable, which is time consuming, but as they say – No Pain, No Gain (delicious gain) is very true in this case.

4 years ago

Such a simple and flavoursome sabji. I also cook this sabji with aloo in onion- tomato based gravy, loved your version of lotus stem with spinach..shall try this way next time whenever I plan to make this flavorful veggie.

4 years ago

You have elevated the sabzi with your use of warming spice. I love the balance you have achieved between the lotus root and spinach as well the flavours you have used.

4 years ago

Seema this is such a simple and flavorful sabji using lotus root. Use of spinach leaves is a great idea. Although I have not tried my hand yet with this lotus stems, still this is tempting me try for sure 😉

4 years ago

Thanks for the detailed instructions for cleaning the lotus root. Very helpful for me to try. Such a simple , flavorful, healthy and delicious curry. Looks so delicious.

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