Underneath the colorful lotus flower, one can find this edible rhizome which is the subterranean stem of the plant. Inside the cylindrical brown root is a beautiful design of either seven or nine long holes running lengthwise through the vegetable. Typically, the softer seven hole variety is cooked and the nine hole variety works great as a raw addition to dishes. When purchasing lotus root for use at home, look for one that is firm without bruises. This root can most likely be found at Asian markets where it may be sold either whole or sliced and packaged.
Flavor and Texture of Lotus Root
Similar to jicama, lotus root has a high water content which makes for a cool, refreshing texture. This starchy root also has quite the crunch and can be a crisp addition to either chilled or hot dishes. In terms of taste, it’s slightly sweet and slightly bitter with an overall mild flavor. Consider lotus root a blank slate to build flavor on, making it a smart choice for marinating or pickling.
Storage and Usage of Lotus Root
To keep your lotus root fresh over a longer period of time, keep peeled slices in water with a bit of vinegar or citrus juice as this will help the vegetable keep its color as well as get rid of some of the potential bitterness. When this root is left whole and unpeeled, it should be stored in the refrigerator with a damp cloth wrapped around it.
Try lotus root as a stand in for other starchy vegetables such as potatoes or parsnips. This veggie gives a great crunch to high-heat, quick cooking dishes such as stir-frys. Or give pickling a go and preserve some lotus root slices for a colorful and bitey salad or breakfast bowl topping later on. You can even slow cook lotus root as a delicious and eye-catching side, like in our Chashu Pork with Braised Lotus Root.
Feature Image: By FotoosRobin – originally posted to Flickr as Lotus root (CC BY-SA 2.0)