The rhizomes/stems of a lotus plant, also known as Nadir (singular: nadur) in Kashmiri, are consumed in numerous Asian countries including China, Japan, and many parts of India. Grown in the shallower sections of lakes and ponds, Nadir are plucked between September and March every year. In Kashmir, they are mainly grown in the Dal, Wular and Anchar lakes.
Nadur has a unique earthy, fibrous flavour with a porous texture. It is considered to be a classic dish, often served deep-fried, stir-fried, etc. Strings of nadir placed on a west-facing window, resembling a high fashion necklace, is not an uncommon sight in a Kashmiri house during the summer months. Prepared with a variety of things including spinach, turnip and kidney beans; Nadir are perhaps best prepared as Nader Yakhni, where the vegetable replaces lamb in this traditional yoghurt-and-cumin based dish. Apart from this, Nadir are also consumed as local snacks called Nadur Monji.
It is no secret that the floods of September 2014 adversely affected every aspect of life in Kashmir. Entire ecosystems were destroyed and nearly 80% of nadru plants disappeared in just one month. After the search for a single lotus plant through the end of the year turned out to be futile, the farmers decided to take matters into their own hands. They took seeds and saplings from Nigeen Lake and took on the burdensome task of regrowing the plant across the region. Finally in October 2017, nadru made a comeback to Kashmiri markets. Although lacking it’s previous colour and freshness, Nadir still comprise a major portion of the Kashmiri cuisine, blending in various dishes and snacks.