Have you ever had the soy sauce braised lotus root side dish? Wow is it tasty, and so crispy too considering it is cooked for well over an hour. If you have tasted it, you know how worth the time it is, and if you haven’t tried, you will very soon! Well, not too soon. I kid, I kid, it’s worth the time spent and it’s very easy.
Soy braised lotus root is not only fascinating in apearance, it has a satisfying umami flavor that just keeps you coming back for more. The flavor and texture of lotus root is reminiscent of bamboo shoots and water chestnut, but still nothing else looks or tastes quite like it.
This recipe will leave enough for a few servings, or to feed 3-4 people (as a side or as a meal unto itself over rice).
Shelf life: 2 weeks (stored in tupperware, refrigerated)
You will need:
- Vegetable peeler
- Knife & cutting board
- Medium-large mixing bowl
- Measuring cups & spoons
- Medium saucepan
- Garlic press (optional)
- Deep or large frying pan with cover
- 1 lb. lotus roots (about 2 lotus roots), peeled and sliced
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 2 TBSP sunflower or corn oil
- 1/4 cup Korean soy sauce
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3/4 cup rice syrup
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp roasted sesame seeds
- Optional (for a slightly spicy version): 1 TBSP gochujang
1.) Peel the Try to get as fresh and blemish-free lotus roots as possible. If any brown blemishes are under the skin, peel further to remove. Cut into 1/3″ slices and place in bowl. Cover with cold water and allow to sit for 30 minutes. Transfer to colander to remove water.
2.) Bring 7-8 cups water to a boil in the saucepan. Add the rice vinegar and the sliced lotus roots. Turn down the heat and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Return to colander and allow to drain well, giving a few good shakes.
3.) Add the vegetable oil (not the sesame oil) to frying pan over high heat. Allow to heat up so the sliced roots hit the pan sizzling, then turn down heat to medium to avoid burning. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes, carefully turning the slices to evenly cook them and avoid breaking them.
4.) To the pan, add 2 cups water (or sub with low-sodium chicken stock for an even deeper umami flavor), the minced garlic, and soy sauce. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for ~45 minutes. Periodically remove cover and turn slices to evenly cook them.
5.) After the allotted time, add the rice syrup and gently stir it in evenly. (Also add the optional gochujang and stir in at this time.) Re-cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes.
6.) Open and turn up the heat to medium-high. Stir and turn slices carefully every few minutes, until each slice glistens and the liquid is almost totally evaporated (once it is very reduced and syrupy, it is done). This step typically takes anywhere from 15-20 minutes.
7.) Turn off the heat and stir in the sesame oil. Stir in evenly then plate the slices with some of their syrup (suggested on or with rice, or as banchan – side dishes – for Korean BBQ). Garnish with a sprinkling of sesame seeds. If placing in storage, place in tupperware or glassware, allow to cool, then cover and refrigerate.