Lotus Root


Lotus root

Lotus roots are the edible rhizomes of the lotus plant. It is a versatile item that can be stir fried, braised, or used in soups. When selecting, look for specimens without discoloration or bruising.  The root should be firm with no breaks or splits, and free of mold.

Although lotus roots can be found year-round at Asian markets, they are, by tradition, deemed to be at their best around the time of the Mid-Autumn Festival (also known as the Moon Festival) on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese lunar calendar, or about August through October by the Western calendar.

How to prepare: Separate the individual nodes, cut off the ends, and peel using a vegetable peeler. The color of the flesh should be very light tan to almost white. Each peeled node can then be sliced or split into chunks. To prevent the cut pieces from darkening, submerge them in water acidified with vinegar or lemon juice until you are ready to start cooking.

Interesting note: When you bite into a piece of cooked lotus root, you will notice that the piece will separate with filaments or threads. As a child, I was totally fascinated by this phenomenon. The Chinese have a saying: 藕斷絲連, lit. “lotus roots may break, but the fiber remains joined.” It’s an idiomatic expression meaning “lovers part, but still long for each other.”


Two ways to cut lotus root: chunks (left) and slices (right).