They’re expensive at the moment but very hard to resist.
Lotus Root isn’t actually a root at all, it’s the edible rhizome (the subterranean stem) of the lotus plant, a perennial aquatic plant that grows beautiful pink-hued or white flowers and, yes, it’s native to Australia. Such a lovely flower too!
Where do you even find lotus root? Head to the produce section of an Asian grocery store. You’re looking for elongated, tan, oval, pod-like things that are attached to one another. You can buy them frozen, dried or fresh. I get mine fresh from Preston Market.
You want firm, dry lotus root that, when sliced, yields pristine white interior riddled with lacy holes. Beware lotus root that appears blemished, feels like it has soft spots, or is black at the tips, as chances are it’s mouldy inside. Lotus root is pretty perishable, so keep it wrapped in a paper towel in your vegetable bin until you use it, which should be within hours of getting it home. You may want to buy a few extra lotus roots because it’s often tricky to tell when one is ripe and when it’s overripe. The worst thing that can happen is you end up with surplus lotus root, which has long been valued medicinally for its high trace mineral content.
To prepare the lotus root: peel, discarding the ends, then rinse under cold water. Slice the lotus root into half-centimetre rounds (about 1/4-inch). Rinse again, then set in a bowl with cold water and splash of vinegar to prevent discoloration.
Now you’re set to go. Try a stir-fry lotus-root dinner Braised with Chinese cabbage and tofu, lotus roots soak up all the surrounding flavours or you can stir-fry, make chips or add to stews and soups.