Lotus flowers are often admired for their pristine beauty, but the real miracle of this aquatic plant is that almost every part of the plant is edible. The seeds are like little nuts, the stems can be eaten as a vegetable, and the leaves and flowers are not only decorative, they also make good tea. But my favorite parts of the lotus plant are the rhizomes that grow under the water's surface.
They not only look pretty cool, but they also have a sublimely crisp texture and naturally sweet taste that makes them one of my favorite veggies when I want to add a pop of texture to a dish. They're also high in dietary fiber and minerals, which is nice to be able to say when you realize you've eaten a whole plate of this.
As you may have seen over on Youtube this week, I posted a version of Kinpira using another popular Japanese root vegetable. Between you and me, I actually prefer Kinpira Renkon to the version made with burdock. That shouldn't discourage you from making the other one as it is delicious, but this takes a lot less time to prepare, and the crispy texture of the lotus root is simply irresistible.
- 250 grams renkon lotus root
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sake
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- Chili flakes to taste
- Prepare a bowl of acidified water by mixing vinegar, lemon juice, or citric acid into a bowl of cold water until it is slightly sour. Wash and peel the renkon and put the peeled bulbs in the water.
- Slice the renkon into thin cross-sections and add them to the acidified water. When you're done slicing, drain and rinse the renkon and then shake off as much water as you can.
- Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat and add the vegetable oil, renkon, and sugar. Stir-fry until the sugar starts to caramelize.
- Add the soy sauce and sake and continue stir-frying until all the liquid has evaporated.
- Toss the kinpira with the toasted sesame seeds to finish and garnish with chili flakes to taste.