I got really into Asian cooking about two years ago, when I decided that learning how to cook Asian food at home in my kitchen was a bit more admirable (and a lot more cost-effective) than ordering take-out from one of my neighborhood Chinese or Japanese restaurants. (Seriously, what's more 'pro' than someone who can skip past the boxed stuff and make their OWN mapo tofu?)
It was during my first excursion to my local Korean market - on an ingredients hunt for my first foray into bibimbap - that I discovered this odd-shaped root vegetable that looked like a combination of a sand dollar and chicharones de harina. I didn't really know what to expect from it, but always willing to try new things, I threw it into my cart.
I could not have been more excited about my find. It added a wonderful crunch and flavor reminiscent to a water chestnut to my bowl. It was then that I turned to 'The Google' to figure out exactly what it was.
Here's what I learned:
The lotus root - an aquatic root vegetable popular in Chinese, Vietnamese, and South Indian cuisine - is consumed for its great texture and numerous health benefits. (It's also a beautiful plating finish, don't you think?)
It's extremely low in calories, while providing a considerable amount of protein and fiber. It also adds to your daily value of Vitamins C and B-6 and potassium. In the realm of Eastern medicine, it has been popularly used to treat insomnia and anxiety-related disorders.
Want to put the lotus root to the test in your own kitchen? Check out the recommended recipe below.