How to Cook Lotus Root 如何料理莲藕

Learn how to cook lotus root, how to clean lotus root, which variety to use, and how to grow it.

What is lotus root?

The lotus root is the subterraneous stem portion of the lotus plant. This plant grows in ponds with the flowers and leaves above the water, and the stems and roots below the water.

Every part of the plant can be used in cooking, either as ingredients or as cooking tools. The flowers, stamens, seeds, leaves and of course the roots.

The root is light grey brownish in colour. When cut cross-section, it looks like wheels or some say snowflakes. 

How to clean lotus root

Choose the ones that are regularly shaped, and each section should be the same. Avoid those with bruises, cuts, and dry. 

Wash and scrub thoroughly to remove mud and dirt.

Grandma will usually peel the outer skin with a peeler before slicing them cross-section. Personally, I do not think peeling is necessary. A good scrub is a must though.

If you are not going to use it immediately, soak in water with lemon juice or rice vinegar to prevent discoloration after peeling and cutting.

Uncut and unwashed roots can be wrapped in newspaper and cling wrap before placing in the refrigerator. Sliced lotus root should be wrapped in cling wrap before placing in the refrigerator. Consume within 2 days.

How to cook lotus root

Lotus root are usually used in simmered soups and do well in slow cookers and instant pots. They can also be stir-fried, stuffed, braised, or pickled. In recent years, lotus root chips have become popular. Have a look at these 2 recipe collections: 

7-hole versus 9-hole lotus root

There are 2 types of lotus root. One has 7 holes and the other has 9 holes when you cut into them. The one with the 7-hole is smaller, denser and contains a higher starch content. According to this cooking video, the 7-hole root is more suitable for soup. The 9-hole lotus root is larger, paler and has a higher water content. It is better for salad and stir-frying.

The cooking video compares the two. You can clearly see the difference.

This starchy rhizome appears frequently in Chinese food, especially vegetarian dishes. It not only adds bulk but also helps balance the oiliness and richness of fatty cuts. It is crunchy even after long hours of cooking and does not have a strong flavour.

How to grow lotus root

Did I mention that lotus flowers are beautiful?

If you have a pond in your garden, consider growing some lotus plants. There is a mini variety that can be grown in large water vats. You can check out a comprehensive guide on how to grow and care for lotus plants at https://happydiyhome.com/lotus-plant/

The gardening video below also shows you how to grow mini lotus plants in your garden. 

I hope this article on How to cook lotus root is useful. Do check out these 2 recipe collections: 

Happy Souping, Phoebe