I met a new ingredient today: Lotus Root

I went out to dinner this evening with mom. When the entrees arrived her ahi tuna was accompanied by, among other things, a strange looking garnish of 2 slices of a beautifully patterned . . . some kind of root vegetable. It was potato-like, but mildly sweet. When the waiter returned we asked what it was we were eating (yes, I stole a slice). It was a lotus root. It grows underwater, has health benefits (about which he was vague) and has been a big hit with the kitchen, which also makes chips from it.

Are we the only ones who have never heard of/seen/eaten this pretty veg?

Can’t say, but I love lotus root! I usually see it sliced more thinly than this picture indicates.

A Szechuan restaurant I go to has a wonderful lotus root dish that we order every time. I see it fresh at various Asian markets but have not cooked it yet.


It wasn’t sliced that thickly at the restaurant, but not as thinly as the chips the waiter mentioned. I think this was the first week of their winter menu, but I’ll definitely try the chips next time.

Funny, on the way home from the restaurant we passed an Asian market and I wondered if it carried lotus root so we could experiment at home. But this week is a bit crazy (fridge repair, funeral, last minute Thanksgiving hosting). Maybe next week . . . or the week after?

Same here - it’s a sweet & sour prep that is thankfully not very sweet at all.

Crunchy deliciousness.

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Crunchy if cooked for not too long.

Or throw it in a soup and it becomes soft like other root vegetables.

It’s nice to make pickles with it.


I kind of grew up eating lotus root, so I am not a good meter. However, I don’t think it is as popular as your waiter has told you. I doubt half of the Americans know about this root vegetable.

If you cook it in water (like braising), then it will be soft. However, if you pan fry it or stir fry it, then it will be crispy. In this sense, it won’t taste like potato.

Edited I think in this sense, you can think of it like carrot. Crispy/crunchy when it is raw. Soft and tender when braised.

Yep if I see something new and it’s on the plate of a close family member or friend, I’m not above thievery.

ETA: And agreed, it can’t be *that *popular here if I’ve managed never to see one . . .And I eat out a lot.

I am so sorry for your family’s loss. Sending warm wishes your way. <3

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I love lotus root. It tastes like water chestnut to me. I ask for extra in hot and sour soup.

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They used to be in Terra chips, back 20 yrs. when they were a new company.

Yeah, I was about to say the lotus root (fresh) has a water chestnut texture, but then I wonder not everyone has tried water chestnuts. Great analogy.

It seems to be a pretty common staple in china. I’ve seen them often in more traditional restaurants.

There is a pretty well filmed chinese documentary (propagenda piece?) that features the lotus root (amongst others).

Its prettier in 1080p but this link is serviceable. Starts at 22 min for lotus root.


It’s also quite popular in japanese stews/braises (look for “Renkon” on the menu).

I’ve eaten this a couple of times in restaurants.

First, at Moti Mahal in London, where the dish was called kararee bhyein - thin and fried to crisp , along with peanuts and chopped coriander. An interesting dish in an Indian meal, where the crispness was the significant attribute

And, second, as part of mixed pickles at Koreana in Manchester

If cooked quickly the a crunch to any dish. But if cooked as part of slow cooked soup they lend color, flavor and body to a soup. The next time I make this (now that is cold) I will post a recipe.
It just a some meat/bone and other Chinese herbs (which I have to get the names of when I get them from the package).

Ate it as tempura last night, pre cooked them in boiling water for 15 minutes before rolling in the batter and fried. Quite nice.

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Bessarabsky Market, Kyiv. Ukraine
Credit: Juan Antonio Segal, Flickr