This sauteed lotus root and bok choy in clear garlic sauce makes a deliciously light side that takes only 15 minutes to make. The lotus root stays a little bit crunchy while the bok choy is tender and sweet. Make it saltier if you’re serving with plain rice or keep it less salty if you’re using this side to balance out more intense dishes like Vegan Dry Pot “Fish” or Vegan LaZiJi (Hide-and-Seek “Chicken”).
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Video tutorial for Sauteed Lotus Root and Bok Choy”
About Lotus Root
With the Lunar New Year coming up I wanted to share this very distinct Asian vegetable: the lotus root. Have you tried it before? What are your favourite Lotus Root dishes? Let me know in the comments below.
Lotus roots are the long tubers that grow underwater below the lotus plant. Apparently, the whole lotus plant is edible, including lotus flowers! I haven’t had the flowers before but I’m quite familiar with the root. It tastes a bit like water chestnut or celery; that is, it doesn’t have much flavour at all! When cooked, lotus root slices become tender but still retain their crisp bite. It’s very versatile and goes with any flavours you want: spicy, sour, sweet, salty or any combination. During holidays like Lunar New Year, you can commonly find candied lotus root (and candied lotus seeds) in snack platters. For this post, we’ll do a simple stir-fry with bok choy and clear garlic sauce.
Buying and Preparing Lotus Root
While their peak season is the fall, you can usually find lotus root year-round in Asian grocery stores. I bought mine from T&T Supermarket here in Calgary. Look for firm lotus root with pale smooth unbroken skin. They might be light brown from scrapes and being banged around but this is okay since you can peel those parts away. Avoid anything with soft dark parts or bits that look dried out. Also, avoid anything that smells foul or looks mouldy.
The segments can be short or long; doesn’t matter. But make sure that the ends are intact. Otherwise, you might find mud on the inside.
I usually store lotus root in the crisper in a plastic bag. If you plan to store it longer than a couple days, wrap it in a clean damp cloth or paper towel and then place it in a bag to keep it fresher for longer.
To prepare lotus root for this recipe, peel away the skin and chop off the nubby end bits. Rinse away any dirt. Then slice across the length to create thin rounds. This cut displays the lotus root in all its beautiful distinctness!
Take care as you slice the root. It’s a little bit slimy like okra. Place the cut lotus root into cold water to rinse away the slime and to keep it from browning. Then you’re ready to cook!
Recipe for Sauteed Lotus Root and Bok Choy
This sauteed lotus root and bok choy in clear sauce makes a deliciously light side that takes only 15 minutes to make. The lotus root stays a little bit crunchy while the bok choy is tender and sweet. Make it saltier if you’re serving with plain rice or keep it less salty if you’re using this side to balance out more intense dishes like Vegan LaZiJi (Hide-and-Seek “Chicken”).
12oz (340g) lotus root
8oz (225g) bok choy
1 – 2 teaspoons cooking oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/4″ slice ginger
3/4 cup vegan “chicken” broth or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
soy sauce to taste
Prepare the lotus root:
Break apart segments of lotus root if you have more than one. Trim away outer layer with a knife or vegetable peeler. Cut away dark discolouration and rinse well to wash away any dirt particles. Slice the lotus root into rounds thinly and evenly (1/8″ – 1/4″).
Prepare the rest:
Cut the bottoms off the bok choy, rinse thoroughly and drain well.
Have your slice of ginger, sliced garlic, and broth prepared. Combine the cornstarch and water to create a cornstarch slurry.
In a wok or large skillet, heat cooking oil over high heat. Add the garlic and ginger, stir-frying until these aromatics become fragrant; about 30 – 60 seconds.
Add the lotus root. Saute until the bottoms develop a little colour; about 3 minutes.
Add 1/2 cup broth and simmer about 3 more minute or until the broth is mostly evaporated.
Add the bok choy and fold together. Let cook for 2 – 3 minutes until the bok choy has wilted and the greens turn bright. Do not over cook.
Give the cornstarch slurry a stir, then add to the wok and fold to incorporate. Turn down the heat to medium low. Stir in the remaining broth to thin out the sauce.
Taste and add soy sauce to your preference. Enjoy!