Lotus Root

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.