Lotus Root or Lotus Rhizomes (Fresh)
Traditional Chinese Name:
Taste: Sweet (and slightly sour)
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These are the underwater roots of the lotus flower and tend to grow up to 4 feet in length. They brown in color and grow in bulbed sections similar to balloons! The interiors have holes and are light brown in colour. They are slightly sweet to taste, crispy and light in texture (when fresh), and are stringy when eaten. You can eat these both raw and cooked in Asian cuisine and are commonly used in salads, stews, soups, stir fry, appetizers and even desserts!
I personally love using lotus roots because it’s a great addition to the meal (not just the soup), it creates an earthy, sweet, dark rich flavour to the soup, they have amazing shelf life in the fridge (up to 2 weeks) where they’re still crunchy, and they are an amazingly versatile ingredient
How do I prepare it?
- When you’re buying these, be sure they are firm to touch and not squishy – that’s a sign of freshness.
- I will store the in the fridge for a longer life span.
- To prepare, rinse with running water to remove any dirt. As these roots are harvested from the water within ponds and bodies of water, they tend to accumulate a lot of dirt, particularly if they get into the holes of the lotus root. So rinse well with water, or soak in water.
- I will also peel (with a peeler) the skin and then slice or cube or chop, depending on how it’s being used. For soups, I’ll quarter or slice, depending on how I’m feeling. If I’m doing a quicker boil, I’ll make thinner slices.
Where can I buy it and cost?
- You can buy these fresh in your local supermarkets, they are both available in western and Asian supermarkets
- These are definitely available in wet marts in Hong Kong
- I’ve also seen these are pre-packaged, pre-sliced, pre-washed lotus roots in supermarkets in the cold sections
- I see these all year round as lotus roots have a very long harvest life (usually between July – March) with varying taste and texture depending on their harvest time
- Fresh lotus roots aren’t very expensive and cost around ~$3-5 per pound (CAD)
- Lotus roots are high in dietary fiber, vitamin C, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin B6, phosphorus, copper, manganese
- It is low in saturated fat
- This is a neutral ingredient and can be used in both cooling and warming soup
The lotus root can be eaten raw, but there is a risk of parasite transmission
- Be sure to thoroughly clean lotus roots as they grow and are harvested in mud
CHECK OUT SOUPS THAT USE LOTUS ROOTS
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