Stir-fried lotus root
Lotus root can be bought from Asian grocery stores in Europe and will normally be vacuum packed in chunks of two or three sections. A nice fresh one is a light cream-brown. The older the root the browner and darker it is. From the outside it seems like nothing special until the ends are cut and the inedible outer skin is peeled away, revealing a creamy-white flesh and small round holes that run from end to end. When cut in cross-section, each slice displays a visually appealing pattern.
It has a crisp, slightly crunchy texture with flavour similar to water chestnut, and has starchiness like a raw potato. The younger roots are most desirable for raw dishes. The mature roots have more of a bitter flavour which can be sliced and stir fried, or stuffed with glutinous rice in its small round holes and steamed as dessert. Lotus roots contain much iron, vitamins B & C.
I grew up with the lotus root, peanuts and pork ribs soup that my mother makes but never fully appreciated the crunchy texture of the lotus root. I have new-found respect for it after cooking the dish below. Try it!
- 400g fresh lotus root
- 2 garlic cloves – thinly sliced
- 1 thumb-size knob of ginger – finely chopped
- 2 spring onion – cut into 2 inches long sections then sliced thinly length-wise
- 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
- 1 tbsp light soya sauce
- ½ tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp oil
1. Slice off the skin of the lotus root, wash thoroughly, and cut into thin slices.
2. Heat the oil in a wok then stir-fry the garlic and ginger for about 1 minute.
3. Add the spring onion and lotus root and stir-fry for another 1 minute.
4. Add the rice wine, soy sauce and sugar then cook for another 5 minutes, or until the lotus root is tender but still crunchy.
Recipe adapted from The Food of CHINA published by Murdoch Books.
Serves four persons as part of a meal with rice.