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Lotus seeds or lotus nuts are the seeds of plants in the genus Nelumbo, particularly the species Nelumbo nucifera. The seeds are of great importance to East Asian cuisine and are used extensively in traditional Chinese medicine and in Chinese desserts. The seeds are most commonly sold in the shelled and dried form. Fresh lotus seeds are relatively uncommon in the market except in areas of lotus root and seed production, where they are sometimes sold as a raw snack. Raw lotus seeds are low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium, and are a good source of protein, thiamin, mgnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and manganese.
In India, the dried seeds are called “Makkhane” in Hindi and they are used to make makkhane ki kheer, a type of milk pudding. In Manipur, the North-East Indian state, lotus seeds are locally known as thamchet and are eaten raw.
Lotus seeds are also very common in the northern part of Colombia, especially in cities like Barranquilla and Cartagena. Locals usually refer to lotus seeds as “martillo.” Fresh lotus seeds are sold in street markets and are generally eaten raw by the locals. Lotus seeds are also sold as snacks called “Pesteh Daryayi” (پسته دریایی or “Pistachios of the Sea”) in Anzali, Iran.