As October comes to an end, I will be finishing up my trek around the country for fellowship interviews. It has been an incredibly reaffirming experience to have had the chance to meet so many cool people along the way. Recently, I returned from a trip to the west coast and took the opportunity to take a brief respite at home to hang out with family (and of course enjoy some delicious food).
One of my favorite food memories as a child was eating fresh lotus seeds or 蓮子 pronounced “lian zi.” I would pick them straight out of the lotus pod that my mom would buy for me. I still recall the satisfying freshness, sweetness, and crunch as I bit into them. To this day, I have never had fresh lotus seeds in the States as it only seems to exist in dried form here (still tasty but not the same).
We had a chance back during the summer time to visit Kenilworth aquatic gardens in DC in time to see the lotus blossoms. Lotus has a rich background in Chinese culture and cuisine. It is the seat of Buddha. It represents purity, perfection, honor. All parts of the lotus are used in tea, soups, and various dishes. Lotus root powder can be used as a thickener. Lotus paste is used in desserts. I still routinely buy lotus root or 蓮藕 pronounced “lian ou” (quite a pain to harvest) from our local Asian grocery store for stir fry and soup. A quick stir fry renders lotus root flexible yet crunchy while stewed lotus root delivers a texture more similar to taro or roasted potato.
Stir Fried Lotus Root with Garlic and Green Onions
- Lotus root 3 segments, washed, peeled, and sliced thin
- Garlic 2 cloves, minced
- Green onion 2 stalks, sliced
- Cooking oil 1 T
- Salt and white pepper TT
In preparing your lotus root, first slice off the ends. Then rinse thoroughly under cold water and peel it. These things grow in the mud so can be a bit dirty. The underlying flesh is white. After peeling, slice into thin pieces. Rinse the slices under cold water again and dry (I like using a salad spinner for this to get rid of the residual water). This step helps reduce a bit of the starchiness and gives the lotus root a bit more crunch. In a wok/pan, heat up 1 tablespoon of neutral oil on medium high. Stir fry sliced lotus root until slightly translucent and outer edges slightly caramelized. Add in minced garlic, sliced green onions, salt, and white pepper and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes until garlic is fragrant.
Stir-fried lotus root easily takes on any flavors. Experiment with different glazes and sauces. Lotus know what delicious variations you come up with!