Monday, April 14, 2014

Lotus Root

A week ago Justin and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary! We got a babysitter and ordered some delicious appetizers at a Japanese restaurant (Haru Ichiban), then walked a few doors down to The Melting Pot for a cheese fondue and chocolate fondue. That weekend we headed to Justin's parents' for the first half of Spring Break and even left the kids there one night! We stopped at a dine-in theater (it's been a year in a half since we've been to a theater) and then spent the night gaming with some friends who just welcomed their first little one yesterday. I can't even remember the last time we had a babysitter before this, so it was a much needed break!!

One of the Japanese appetizers we picked was a sandwich of ground meat between lotus root slices (which was then breaded & friend). Have you ever tried lotus root? We first used it when we made Chikuzenni, but I could only find it pre-sliced in a bag. The texture was similar to a water chestnut, but a little crunchier, and it had a nutty flavor. On my last trip to the Asian market I spotted these in the produce section ~

Lotus Root, 1

If it wasn't labeled I would have had no clue! Once peeled and sliced, they reveal a beautiful pattern ~

Lotus Root, 2

I was actually surprised to learn that these are the roots of a lotus flower. That sounds dumb, but there are so many oddly named foods (buffalo wings, hot dogs, cat head biscuits), I never take the name literally. But it makes so much sense ~ The holes are air pockets to keep the lotus flower afloat!

Anyway... I pulled out the mandolin and sliced them thin ~

Lotus Root, 3

I have heard of making these into chips, so I tried out the microwave method without much hope. They really wanted to burn, so I wouldn't recommend it, but the parts that survived were *really* good. I can't bring myself to deep fry, but I'll surely order them if I ever see lotus chips on a menu!

I used the rest up in a recipe I'd bookmarked for "Sauteed and Simmered Lotus". The slices were cooked in a mix of sugar & soy sauce, and while the sauce could have been a lot better, I couldn't stop nibbling on these.

Lotus Root, 4

I probably won't be making any of those recipes again, but I've definitely come to enjoy this tasty root!

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