The majestic Lotus plant is a sight to see with its huge leaves and vibrant blooms.
It is a common thing to see ponds floating with it everywhere, especially in Asia. The whole lotus plant is edible, including its roots.
It is a delicacy enjoyed in Japanese and Chinese cuisines for centuries. Also, adored for its pleasantly fresh and sweet flavor.
Plus, it also carries multiple health benefits.
We now have millions of people using it outside of Asia. With that said, the question you might have is, “What does Lotus root taste like?”
What is Lotus Root?
The Lotus root is the rhizome attached at the bottom of the aquatic leaf pad. The scientific name of Lotus root is Nelumbo Nucifera.
In many parts of Asia, the plant signifies sacredness, especially in India.
The lotus root is a tubular and elongated and grows underground in water bodies. It can grow up to 10 to 20 cm in length, and 5 to 10 cm in diameter. It connects as several roots join together, thus appearing like a sausage.
The young Lotus root has a firm texture with its skin turning from light purple to white in color. It slowly turns from brown-beige to dark brown specks when it matures.
Underneath the skin is the light white flesh of the Lotus root. A unique feature is it comes with numerous air pockets. It looks similar to that of a rotary phone dial.
What Does Lotus Root Taste Like? Does Lotus Root Taste Good?
To describe the taste of Lotus root, it is a mild yet pleasantly sweet tasting flavor.
When eaten raw, it has a similar texture to celery that is crunchy. In fact, when you bite into it, you can get the same watery freshness as celery.
Another name for Lotus root is the underwater sausage as the roots connect to each other. When cooked over a more extended period, in stews, it develops texture similar to a potato.
The Lotus roots go by a lot of names like Sacred water lotus or Chinese Arrowroot. The Japanese call it Renkon.
The flavor profile:
The Lotus root is no match to the flower when you look at it at first glance.
However, the true beauty of the root lies when you cut it open. It gives off a clean and airy feel.
True to its appearance, the white flesh of the root is light and refreshing. When you bite into it, the crunchy, fibrous texture is hard to miss.
It has a mild taste, which gives it the ability to absorb flavors of other ingredients like tofu.
The dense nutty and sweet flavor, along with the crunchy texture, is similar to that of a water chestnut.
All in all, it is light, crisp, and starchy with a similar taste profile to that of daikon and Asian pear.
The Nutritional chart
We will look into the nutritional value of raw Lotus root. These facts are from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Thee facts depend on 100 grams.
Vitamin c as Ascorbic acid
How to Use Lotus Roots in Recipes?
We can use Lotus roots in almost all methods of cooking. From eating it raw to cooking it by frying, boiling, or baking.
In order to prepare the lotus root for cooking, wash it thoroughly under running water. After this, carefully peel off the outer layer or skin, exposing the white flesh inside.
You can chop the root slice it thinly or julienne it accordingly. Lotus roots tend to discolor. Thus, you need to soak it in water diluted with vinegar or lemon.
We will learn some of the best ways to cook the Lotus root. All you have to do is follow these simple steps:
- Everybody loves chips. There is no way a bowl of Five spice Lotus root chips can go wrong. It is quick and requires fewer ingredients. All you need is to fry the Lotus root in oil and top it off with seasoning.
- You can use the mature Lotus roots in cooking dishes like stews. The Japanese tofu, aubergine, and Lotus root stew is the perfect dish. It will give the potato texture feeling that most stews have.
- For the young tender Lotus roots making a fresh salad is the way. You can simply toss your favorite mixed salad with Lotus roots.
Caution: Lotus roots have a chance of carrying parasites. The Fasciolopsis buski commonly infest aquatic plants like the Lotus plant.
It might cause symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, etc. Thus, always wash it thoroughly.
Lotus root is a powerful ingredient used in traditional Asian cuisine and medicine for centuries.
The fibrous roots are rich in minerals, nutrients, and vitamins. It has healing properties from reducing cholesterol to boosting the immune system.
The roots are eaten either cooked or raw and have a mild crispy taste. We can use it in raw salads, pan fried or in stews, and even in desserts.
However, before using the Lotus root for cooking, always clean it thoroughly, for it might have parasites. If you aren’t careful, you might suffer from symptoms like vomiting to fever.