The lotus plants are typically seen all around Asia. The lotus flower symbolizes purity and enlightment in Buddhism, because the roots grow in muddy water but the elegant and pure flowers bloom fragrantly above.
Besides bearing these religious meanings, all parts of the lotus plant is used in the kitchen, from the leaf and seeds and all the way to the roots. The leaf is dried and made as tea, or wrapped with rice inside and steamed to give aroma to the rice. The lotus seeds are used as medicine or eaten as snack, or even made into Buddhist prayer beads. The roots are usually steamed or braised and served as side dish to a bowl of rice. The fiber-rich lotus root is known for its rich vitamin C content and its power to regulate blood pressure and support curing diabetes.
Soy sauce braised lotus roots were always my favorite side dish in my lunch Bento Box that my mom used to make. She had to pack lunch for three kids everyday, so she would make kilos of them – but would never last more than a couple of days. They were so crunchy, nicely sweet and salty that me and my sister would come home after school, open the tupperware and snack on them and even drink the sauce! 🙂
I encourage you to try this recipe, because it’s really easy, fast and delicious! Lotus roots are easily found in Asian shops in the frozen section, but you can easily use any hard vegetable such as daikon radish, carrots or even potatoes and broccoli instead of lotus roots. I like to add some green beans to the mix for the color.
Soy Sauce Braised Lotus Roots (serves 4)
- 500g lotus roots (deep frozen or fresh, if you can get them), washed and sliced in 1cm thickness
- handful of green beans or broad beans, washed and cut bite-size
- 75ml soy sauce
- 150ml water
- 3 Tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoon mirin or cooking sake (can buy in Coop)
- peeled ginger, size of your thumb
- ground pepper to your taste
- small fresh chilli if you like spicy
- Take a pot with a thick bottom (at least 22cm diameter or wider). Add in all the ingredients except for the green beans.
- Stir the sauce with the ingredients so that the brown sugar combines well with the soy sauce and water. Boil the pot on medium heat for about 15-20 minutes until the lotus roots or substituting vegetable is about 70% cooked. Important is not to overcook your vegetables. (Vegetable is always cooked al-dente in most of Asian kitchen, especially in northern Asian countries like China, Korea and Japan.) Move the vegetable around once in a while and pour the sauce over the veggies with the spoon during cooking, so that the veggies take in the color and flavor of the sauce.
- Add in the green beans and cook until the beans are cooked. The dish is ready.
- Serve with a bowl of hot rice! Enjoy 🙂