Padma Nada Batibasa ( Lotus Stem Cooked in Quintessential Odia Style )

After the three days of marathon feasting ( aka Raja festival ) last week, I was in the mood for some super light vegan fare. Since pitha and ghuguni had dominated the menu for the festival, I was predictably out of vegetables. Hoping against hope, I scoured the fridge to salvage enough to drum up a simple lunch for two. An opaque container came within my reach and as I picked it up, I could feel the contents sloshing about. Now, I usually make it a habit of using transparent containers in my fridge as one can clearly see what is within them. But these cute 'keep-fresh' tabs from Tupperware were on a discount and I could not help buying half a dozen. And having run out of the transparent ones, I had used one of them to store something in the fridge.

Something ? God what could it be ? I had completely forgotten about it and as I tried hard to remember, I realized that I was having another bout of momentary amnesia. Expecting the worst, I popped it open. But got a pleasant surprise instead. It had about a cup and a half of neatly cut and thoroughly cleaned lotus stems which meant I could directly cook them. No hassles. Just what I would have wanted on a lazy day.

So, I quickly made some 'batibasa' or mustard based semi dry curry with it. The beauty of the 'batibasa' lies in its simplicity. All the ingredients are thrown together and cooked on a low flame. No stirring required. Just a bit of a mustard garlic paste, a little poppy seeds paste, some more crushed garlic, a few green chilis (if you like it hot), a spot of mustard oil, a pinch of turmeric and salt to taste are all that one needs to whip up this super easy dish.

Read on for the recipe -



















Preparation Time - 20 mins

Ingredients -

  • 150 gm lotus stem
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 5 garlic flakes
  • 2 green chilis
  • 1 tsp mustard oil ( I used Fortune Vivo which is a blend of rice bran and sesame )
  • pinch of turmeric
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds


Preparation - Peel the cut the lotus stem. Wash it thoroughly to remove any dirt sticking to the holes.

Grind the mustard seeds, 2 garlic flakes and 1 green chili into a smooth paste.

Soak the poppy seeds in hot water for 1-2 hours. Drain water and crush them into a light paste with a pestle or a grinding stone.

Cooking - Mix all the ingredients evenly using about 3-4 tbsp water. Put it in an oven-proof dish and pop it into the oven for 15 mins at 170 degrees.

Or put it on the stove top in a thick bottom vessel. Cook covered till tender.

Serve warm or at room temperature with steamed rice and yellow dal.

Note - Lotus stem can be cleaned and stored in water for about a week when refrigerated. 

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