Souper Sunday – Asian Persuasion Edition: Lotus Root


Any way you plate lotus root, it looks beautiful.

Any way you plate lotus root, it looks beautiful.

There are a few things that I like to do when I’m feeling blue:

  1. Look at this picture of Burglekutt from the 1988 movie gem Willow 

    He totally deserved it.

    He totally deserved it.

  2. Watch any SNL “What Up With That” skit
  3. Wander around Asian grocery stores and buy the craziest looking things to experiment with in the kitchen

Not since my military days living in Korea have I been so emerged in the process of discovering new foods as these last few weeks, thanks to my friend Evonne who lived in Japan for 5 years. Oh man, be sure to tune in tomorrow for her guest blog post with more of the awesome (and easy) Asian market eats.

Until a few days ago we had never worked with, seen, or even heard of lotus root – so since then we learned a few things:

What is lotus root?

Looking much like a mixture of a parsnip and a sweet potato and growing up to 4 feet long, a lotus root grows underwater. It is a common food in Asian countries for both consumption and medicinal purposes in treating respiratory issues.

What does lotus root taste like? How do you cook it?

The root can be eaten either raw or cooked and has a mildly bitter, crispy taste simliar to jicama. It’s incredibly versatile and can be used raw in salads, added to soups and stews, steamed as a side dish, or pan fried (as prepared in this recipe). The older a lotus root gets, the darker it becomes – so shop for a firm, light colored root then keep refrigerator.

Much like any root vegetable, there really isn’t a WRONG way to prepare a lotus root. The most common prep is to peel, slice horizontally to show off the lace-like interior, then eaten raw or cooked to taste. Check out this website for more ideas.

Does lotus root have nutritional benefits?

Absolutely! Half a cup of lotus root contains 73% of your daily Vitamin C recommended requirements along with moderate levels of iron, b-complex, and minerals such as copper, zinc, and magnesium  All these benefits at just 40 calories per half cup serving. Check out more benefits here.

The fun part about lotus root is how BEAUTIFUL it looks! You can be a show off to friends and family while keeping to your resolutions. We served the recipe below with soba noodles and miso soup.

Stir-fried Lotus Root*

From Asian Vegan Kitchen 

asian_lotus

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 11 ounces of lotus root (You can find this in the freezer section of your local Asian market)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 dried red chili
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 1 tablespoon sake
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon toasted white sesame seeds

Heat vegetable oil in a broad sauce pan or wok, and stir-fry lotus root over high heat for 1 minute, or until glazed with oil.  Add in chili and mix together.  Turn heat to low, and add remaining ingredients except sesame seeds.  Stir-fry lotus root until most of liquid is absorbed and lotus root is cooked.  Remove from heat, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and transfer to serving dish.

We served  our lotus root with soba noodles which were prepared following the instructions on the package.

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