Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Renkon れんこん

Renkon is known as lotus root in English, that funky root that looks like a flower and packs some crunchy goodness.  You can do just about anything with lotus root cooking wise, just make sure to choose ones that are firm and a light brown color.  The smaller the lotus root the more tender and crispy it will be, so don't pick ones that are too big!  Lotus root is low in calories and high in vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and vitamin B6.  Right now lotus root is in season so it's the best time to try it!

How to Prepare
If you're lazy, you can buy pre-soaked lotus root in the same section of the supermarket that has the prepared bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, etc.  If you want to prepare it yourself, first thoroughly wash the root.  Then peel the outside layer of the root with a peeler.  Slice the lotus root into thin rounds and soak in a mixture of 2 cups water and 1 tablespoon vinegar for about 30 minutes.  This will cut the bitterness in the lotus root.  From there you can cut it up anyway you please and stew, stir fry, boil, fry, etc.
Easy Lotus Root Recipe

This traditional Japanese recipe is about as easy as it gets.  Chop everything up and let it stew for awhile!

Chikuzenni 筑前煮

Makes 2 servings

Prep Time: About 45 minutes


  • 1/2 a chicken breast 鶏もも肉
  • 1/2 a carrot
  • 4cm length of lotus root
  • 50 grams soaked bamboo shoots (can buy already packed in water) ゆでたけのこ
  • 1/2 a length of burdock root ごぼう
  • 2 shiitake mushrooms, destemmed and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons mirin みりん
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces.
2. Cut vegetables into large, bite-sized pieces.
3. Heat vegetable oil in a medium sized pot on medium heat.  Add chicken, carrots, shiitake, bamboo, lotus root, and burdock root.  Stir fry until chicken begins to change color.
4. Add enough water to the pot to just cover the ingredients.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
5. As scum rises to the surface of the water, use the strainer to catch the scum.
6. Once scum seems to be mostly clear, add mirin and soy sauce.  Bring to a boil once more.
7. Once liquid has reduced to about 1cm to the bottom of the pot, remove from heat.
8. Finished!

Of course you can add just about anything to this recipe, such as onions, konnyaku, etc.  Try it out!


  1. arent they so dainty and beautiful, yet alien in appearance? these are super delicous sliced thin and fried in a little oil until chewy-crisp. just drain it on a towel for a few minutes before you finish it. i had that the other day with a sauce of coconut cream, ground ginger and lemongrass, and several scallions. delicious!

  2. Ooh that sounds really good! I'll have to give it a try.