Stir-Fry Lotus Root

Deep-fried fresh lotus root slices in a fragrant sauce with noodles.

Lotus root, sealed in plastic as bought from the Chinese supermarket
Lotus root, sealed in plastic as
bought from the Chinese supermarket
Ingredients:

  • 250g of chow mein noodles
  • 10 long thin green (Bird-eye) chillies
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed (or 2 round tsp of pre-minced garlic)
  • 1" ginger, grated (or 2 round tsp of pre minced ginger)
  • Dark sesame oil (the real, Chinese stuff that is just dark sesame oil, not mixed with other oil, not the English version)
  • 1 heaped tbsp white sesame seed
  • 1 heaped tbsp black sesame seeds (it doesn't matter if you can't get one or the other of the sesame seeds, the colour is for effect only - they taste the same)
  • Peanut oil (sunflower oil will do)
  • Light soy sauce (the real, Chinese stuff, not the English version)
  • 1 bunch (10 roughly in the supermarkets) small/medium spring onions
  • 3 round tsp hoisin sauce (the real, Chinese stuff, not the English version)
  • *Lotus root - (get this in a bag from the local Chinese supermarket)

This is a 1.5 kg pack of noodles with 12 portions in it from the Chinese supermarket.
This is a 1.5 kg pack of noodles with 12 portions
in it from the Chinese supermarket.
*It is possible to get sliced dried lotus root but that is more for making soups than this. I have tried using it and it is not really suited to this recipe.

Ideally, you need fresh - or as fresh as you can get. My local Chinese supermarket stocks this in the chiller section and it is sold by weight.

Method:

In a large pan, put 1.5 litres of water and add the noodles - breaking them into shorter lengths (a few inches - you don't want to be messing around at work, bighting off lengths of noodles).

Put the lid on, bring it to the boil, lower the heat so that it simmers and leave it to get on with it.

This is lotus root as it comes out of the pond (or bag from the Chinese supermarket)
This is lotus root as it comes out of the pond
(or bag from the Chinese supermarket)
Now for the lotus root. This is not a particularly familiar vegetable in the west so I'll go into it in a bit more detail.

Unless you can get hold of the actual fresh root, you will find it wrapped in air/water-tight bags, around 40-50cm long. These usually have three or four joints in them.

Remove the joints, leaving clean ends to each section
Remove the joints, leaving clean
ends to each section
Take it out of the bag and give it a quick rinse under the tap.

Then chop out the joints like so, leaving clean ends.

Use a potato peeler to remove the skin
Use a potato peeler to remove the skin
Next, remove the skin, using a potato peeler.

The root is quite brittle compared to potato so angle the blade at about 45 degrees to make it cut better.

Slice them around 4 to 7mm thick
Slice them around 4 to 7mm thick
Using a reasonable sharp knife, chop the root up into sections that are about 4-7mm thick.

Deep-fry until they are brown
Deep-fry until they are brown
Warm up a deep oil fryer to 180 Celsius and drop in the sections, one at a time. If you put them in all at once, they will stick together.

You will probably have to do this in two or so batches - they do bubble a lot because they have a lot of water in them.

Fry them until they are brown.

Drain them and put them on kitchen paper.
Drain them and put them on kitchen paper.
Once they are ready, drain them and put them on some kitchen towel to soak up any excess oil.

Put them to one side but keep them warm.

Cover the deep-fried root evenly in the sauce
Cover the deep-fried root evenly in the sauce
Chop your chillies into pieces roughly 5mm long and the spring onions into pieces roughly 1cm long - including the green bits.

In another large saucepan, put a couple of tablespoons of peanut oil and start heating it. Add the black and white sesame seeds and heat over a gentle heat until the white sesame seeds start to brown.

Add the chopped veg and the garlic and ginger and stir-fry them.

Add the Hoi Sin sauce, a couple of tbsp of soy sauce and a couple of squirts of the dark sesame oil. Keep on stirring.

Add the deep-fried lotus root and mix it in well, on the heat so that it is covered in the sauce.

Stir-Fry Lotus root, ready to eat
Stir-Fry Lotus root, ready to eat
Drain the noodles when they have finished cooking and divide them up into the three lunch boxes.

On top of them, divide up the stir-fry lotus root with sauce, making sure that the root, the veg and the sauce are evenly distributed between the boxes

Finish off by drizzling a few drops of oil and some soy sauce over your meal.


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