I grew up eating lotus roots. It was a staple starch just like potatoes, rice or bread, and my mom would stir fry it, boil it in pork rib stews, or make a sweet and sour cold dish out of it. I never realized that lotus roots is a strictly Asian thing until my Caucasian friend looked at me bewildered and clueless when I mentioned it, like it was a barbaric idea, to dig the root of some plant from the ground and pair it up with meat. So here’s my 2 cents post dedicated to food cultural exchange.
Lotus roots are planted in the soil at the bottom of ponds, and above the water is where the round lotus leaf with their gorgeous lotus flower which most people are familiar is, can be found. You can find lotus roots at most Asian groceries, and to prepare it, simply rinse the outside dirt away and peel the skin with a peeler. When you slice it open, you’ll find hollow columns that run the length of the root. You can slice it and stir-fry/boil/fry (insert whatever your heart desires) with it. Its texture varies depending on length of cooking time. If cooked to a minimum, it’s crunchy and slightly sweet. The more you cook it, the more starchy and soft it becomes. By itself, it hardly has a taste, just like potatoes, so it serves as a great starch base for flavorful dishes.
Today I’m introducing one of my favorite dishes from childhood which my mom used to make before she became overly concerned with calorie counting and cholesterol balancing. It’s a meat pie sandwiched between lotus root slices and the whole thing is then fried. Sounds like diabetes waiting to happen? Maybe….but you gotta eat what gotta eat, right?
Lotus Root Meat Pie
- ground pork (or turkey if you like to be healthy)
- green onions, 2 stalks, sliced thin
- ginger, grated
- rice wine, 1 Tbsp
- salt and pepper
- lotus root, sliced 1/3 inch thick
- flour, 1 cup
- 1 egg
To make meat pie filling: mix together ground pork, green onions, add in rice wine, ginger, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and let it marinate for 20 minutes at least.
To make batter: Add 1/2 cup of water to flour, mix well. Add 1 egg and mix until batter is smooth and without clumps.
Assemble: Take a spoonful of meat filling and sandwich it evenly between 2 slices of lotus root. Dip meat pie in batter. Heat up 1 tablespoon of oil on the pan, and fry meat pies. Fry both sides until golden brown, around 5 minutes each side. Enjoy!