Ingredient Spotlight: Lotus Root

One advantage to dating a chef, besides the obvious fact that it’s nice to have a man who can cook, is that exotic ingredients sometimes make their way into my kitchen unannounced. Like the other night when he walked in with these.

They basically look like skinned potatoes with the ends cut off – nothing special.

But then when you glance a little closer…

You can see something special is going on with these things.

Never in my life had I seen or even heard of anything like it before. I had no clue what it was, and after looking at it, all I could tell was that it was pretty.

When Wil told me it was Lotus Root, I immediately googled it and here’s what I found out:

  • Lotus root is popular in southern and eastern Asia
  • It’s loaded with fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and lots of other vitamins and nutrients
  • It has a crisp, slightly crunchy texture, like a water chestnut
  • It’s a starchy root veggie, similar to a potato
  • They brown pretty quickly just like a potato after being exposed to air, so soak it in water with lemon juice or vinegar until you’re ready to cook it
  • They are 0 pts+ on Weight Watchers (score!)
  • You can get them at most Asian grocery stores, or if you score a chef for a boyfriend (or girlfriend!) 😉
  • You probably shouldn’t eat it raw

It’s kind of sad how excited I was all day yesterday to go home and experiment with the lotus root. I use the term “kind of” loosely to mean extremely.

I ended up slicing up one of the roots thinly. I seriously could not get over how gorgeous it was.

I prepared the lotus root in the simplest way – by sauteing it in 2 tsp canola oil.

They soaked the oil up right away and I flipped them when they were barely browned and cooked them evenly on the other side.

Then I set them aside off the heat while I chopped up some Asian-esuqe things to go with the lotus root that I had on hand to make a stir fry.

Tofu, carrot, green onion, garlic, and ginger. I cooked that all together plus a little nonstick spray and some soy sauce.

Once that mixture was cooked through, I tossed the lotus root back into the mix, and served the stir fry over some coconut rice (recipe coming soon).

This was seriously the best dinner I’ve made at home in a long, long time (and I’ve made some pretty incredible dinners recently!). The texture of the lotus root was perfect – a little softer than a water chestnut, but still slightly crisp. From cooking them the oil, they took on a caramelized flavor and were edging on sweet. And the coconut rice I served them with? We won’t even go there. Heaven.

I seriously cannot wait for lunch so I can eat the leftovers. Let’s see how long I can make it.

Have you ever heard of or seen lotus root before? What’s the most exotic ingredient you’ve ever experimented with at home or been served at a restaurant?

PS: This is my 500th post!!! Crazy.

35 Comments on Ingredient Spotlight: Lotus Root

  1. Katie Photiadis
    March 4, 2011 at 8:36 am (6 years ago)

    Wow, that looks amazing Beth! I’m so jealous–now I really want to make a stir fry. How’d you make the coconut rice?

    Reply
    • Beth
      March 4, 2011 at 1:03 pm (6 years ago)

      Recipe coming soon, but I used light coconut milk, water, and ginger. It gave it a subtle coconut flavor and made it so creamy – delicious!

      Reply
  2. Lindsay
    March 4, 2011 at 8:37 am (6 years ago)

    I’ve never seen one of those before. It is really pretty. It looks like a loofa when it’s intact. I love discovering new foods. It’s so rare when you’re an adult.

    Reply
    • Beth
      March 4, 2011 at 1:04 pm (6 years ago)

      haha you are right – it does kind of look like a loofah! It tasted better than I imagine a loofah tastes, though. 🙂

      Reply
  3. amanda june
    March 4, 2011 at 8:55 am (6 years ago)

    This is awesome. I lived in China for a year and your research is totally right — it’s VERY popular there. In fact, it’s just one of your run-of-the-mill veggies served at every college cafeteria, and my curiosity at it at first was something of an enigma to my friends. 🙂

    I can’t wait for the coconut rice recipe! I bought some light coconut milk last week to make some Thai curry sauce and it’s just begging to be used. 🙂 Love Asian food!

    Reply
  4. Alison Murphy Hylton
    March 4, 2011 at 9:01 am (6 years ago)

    Yum Beth! That looks great! Congrats on your blog btw- I check it out often. You’re doing a great job!

    Reply
  5. Stephanie @ The Cookie Battle
    March 4, 2011 at 9:28 am (6 years ago)

    I am not at all adventurous when it comes to vegetables (although I know I should be and I’m trying to be better) so the most exotic thing I’ve cooked with is probably leeks. Yeah. I told you I wasn’t adventurous 😉

    Reply
  6. Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean
    March 4, 2011 at 9:39 am (6 years ago)

    those are so cool looking! i feel like i’ve heard of them before but never seen them. what a fun new ingredient!

    Reply
  7. Jessica
    March 4, 2011 at 9:41 am (6 years ago)

    This looks so good! I may have to go out searching for these!

    Reply
  8. Jen, a priorfatgirl
    March 4, 2011 at 9:52 am (6 years ago)

    I’ve seen them before but never knew anyone personally who has cooked with them (that I know of anyway). Would you also be able to boil them and mash ’em up like mashed potatoes?

    Reply
    • Beth
      March 4, 2011 at 9:53 am (6 years ago)

      You probably could do that, but they’re so beautiful it would be a sin!! =)

      Reply
  9. Emily
    March 4, 2011 at 9:53 am (6 years ago)

    This looks crazy delicious!! 🙂

    Reply
  10. DefineDiana
    March 4, 2011 at 9:56 am (6 years ago)

    I’m making stir fry tonight for dinner, but not with lotus root. My stir fry will be jealous of your stirfry.

    BTW congrats on your 500th post!

    Reply
    • Beth
      March 4, 2011 at 1:07 pm (6 years ago)

      haha don’t let your stirfry be TOO jealous. Thank you!! =)

      Reply
  11. Liz
    March 4, 2011 at 10:54 am (6 years ago)

    I don’t think I’ve ever cooked with something that exotic!

    Reply
    • Beth
      March 4, 2011 at 1:06 pm (6 years ago)

      me neither.. until last night!

      Reply
  12. Jamie
    March 4, 2011 at 11:36 am (6 years ago)

    That looks so good! I am planning on some sort of tofu stir fry for dinner tonight but it won’t be as good as yours I am sure

    Reply
    • Beth
      March 4, 2011 at 1:05 pm (6 years ago)

      i’m sure it will be! fresh ginger made a world of a difference!

      Reply
  13. thekitchenbitch
    March 4, 2011 at 12:09 pm (6 years ago)

    Wow 500 is crazy! I think I just reached 100 today, and that seems like so many! Congrats girl! I’ve only ever had lotus root pickled I think–the saute looks great! And, of course, gorgeous!

    Reply
    • Beth
      March 4, 2011 at 1:05 pm (6 years ago)

      100 is a lot too! I’ve gone from blogging a few times a day, to twice a day, to now once. It works well for me!

      Reply
  14. OliePants
    March 4, 2011 at 1:31 pm (6 years ago)

    Happy 500th girlfriend! 🙂 I haven’t seen lotus root before but I remember wondering what you were going to do with it when you Tweeted about it. Looks delicious.

    Reply
  15. Lisa
    March 4, 2011 at 3:16 pm (6 years ago)

    I’ve NEVER heard of it or seen it before. It looks so pretty! I will have to find it and give it a try. What are the calories/points in something like that? Is it the same as a potato or a veggie?

    Reply
    • Beth
      March 4, 2011 at 3:20 pm (6 years ago)

      I know so pretty right!? On WW it has no points and calorie wise there’s 40 in half a cup cooked. Not bad!

      Reply
  16. Kelsey @ Snacking Squirrel
    March 4, 2011 at 7:51 pm (6 years ago)

    mmmm i really love lotus root so much! theres a really nice crunch to it yet has a bit of a potato taste to it as well. i think i like it so much because as a kid i would eat raw potato..my mom would get so mad and say “you’re gonna get worms” lol but the taste was so yummy to me!

    xoxo

    Reply
  17. mindrunningwild
    March 4, 2011 at 8:09 pm (6 years ago)

    Lotus root has such a great crunch to it! plus it is pretty : )
    I’ve tried…I think cherimoya, which I didn’t like and my mom has had sea cucumber in Taiwan!

    Reply
  18. greensandjeans
    March 4, 2011 at 11:47 pm (6 years ago)

    I’ve eaten lotus root before, but I’ve never cooked it! I think it’s super pretty though!

    Reply
  19. Nicole
    March 5, 2011 at 2:41 am (6 years ago)

    Woah lotus root! Never seen one of those beauties in my life, but I love the recipe you created AND the sound of coconut rice! So looking forward to that recipe for printing purposes 🙂

    The stranges fruit I’ve ever eaten? Rambutan! It’s a little chinese… grape-like fella, with a shell you peel and a spongy texture. Then there is a seed in the center. Oddest invention ever!

    Reply
  20. Monica
    March 5, 2011 at 12:59 pm (6 years ago)

    What a fun dinner! I always love how creative you are in the kitchen.

    I have never heard of lutos root before, but it looks really good. My Mom cooks with a lot of exotic ingredients, but I am not yet that brave to try unique things.

    Reply
  21. Groff's Girl
    March 5, 2011 at 5:07 pm (6 years ago)

    Congrats on your 500th post!!!!! I think I have seen those roots over here. I am going to the market today for some produce, so I am going to take a look for those!!! They look really good!! The exotic foods for me would be goya (very bitter but tastes great with tofu and scrambled egg beaters- also VERY good for you), dragon fruit is quite yummy and very light, and then the famous Okinawan purple potatoes! I get lots of opportunity to explore many foods and tastes over here 🙂

    Reply
  22. Kalli
    March 5, 2011 at 6:07 pm (6 years ago)

    never heard of lotus root…..how interesting! love how you used it 🙂

    Reply
  23. Katy (The Singing Runner)
    March 6, 2011 at 10:39 am (6 years ago)

    Congrats on your 500th post!

    I’ve heard to lotus root but I’ve never had it! It looks so pretty!!! 😀

    Reply
  24. Kate (What Kate is Cooking)
    March 6, 2011 at 4:37 pm (6 years ago)

    That is one crazy looking food! I’ve never heard of it, but now I want to try it 🙂

    Reply
  25. Lisa Chase
    March 12, 2011 at 8:03 pm (6 years ago)

    Lotus root is so good, I love it in stir fries or chinese hot pot!

    Reply
  26. Felicia Louise Gaines
    August 25, 2011 at 10:12 am (6 years ago)

    August 25, 2011

    Beth:

    I need your help!
    Could you PLEASE tell me where you purchased your Lotus Root. I’m in Harrisburg, PA and am ready to travel to any number of near by cities to get some. Looking for this product for it’s medicinal benefits and would appreciate any help you might provide.

    Thanking you in advance,
    Felicia

    Reply

Leave a Reply