Lotus root as a bit of a bad rep sometimes as being very traditional, and boring, and possibly not-food (I know some people who refuse to eat the lotus in soups as it is considered not-food and therefore not-edible).
Yes, I did get funny looks when I very excitedly found an ugly potato-root-looking thing in the market. Yes, it was an effort to persuade Bigfoot that I did in fact want to buy this rather expensive thing that looked a bit like a petrified hotdog bun. But it was worth it in the end.
I didn’t think it was ugly at all. Or even auntie-ish. In the end, you can’t beat simple, tasty, and most importantly quick food after a long day.
1 lotus root, peeled and sliced
2-3 cm ginger, chopped
3-5 cloves garlic (depending on size), chopped
1 bunch of spring onions, chopped into approx 1cm lengths
chilli flakes or whole red chilli, to taste – I used around 1/2 teasp red chilli flakes
1 teasp brown suger
1 teasp rice / balsamic vinegar
1-2 tablesp sesame seeds
1.5 tablesp soya sauce
2 teasp sesame oil
white pepper to taste
Slice lotus root and leave it in some slightly vinegared water while preparing the other ingredients.
Fry ginger and garlic in oil until fragrant, over medium heat. Drain the lotus slices and add to the pain in a single layer, flipping as needed.
Add chilli, spring onions, sesame seeds, pepper, soya sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, and vinegar. Cook until slightly caramelised.
Easy vegetable recipes are pretty much my staple, with a throw-everything-in-and-fry omelette and rice.
Here is yet another one. Sometimes, dinner is for watching Masterchef Professional after a long day on Excel, rather than actually cooking.
Sesame-Sugar Long Beans
Learnt it from my uncle, this works with any green / leafy veg
3-4 servings of green beans, chopped
2 tablesp sesame oil
1 teasp soya sauce
1 teasp sugar, brown / white
A dash of white pepper
2 thin slices of ginger – for blanching. They don’t even need to be skinned, just clean 🙂
Boil some water in a pan, and drop in the two slices of ginger. Cover with a lid, and bring everything to a rolling boil.
Blanch the beans for 30 seconds or so, taste one to check done-ness. If it’s how you like it (I like mine under-done), drain off the water and transfer to a bowl. If not, keep checking until it is cooked enough.
While hot, pour all other ingredients into the bowl, and stir well. Taste. Adapt as you like.
You know how vegetables are always so much sweeter in Chinese restaurants? Sweet and crisp.
Crispiness aside, the sweetness aspect is a trick. Apparently they use ginger to sweeten the vegetable. Don’t ask me how that works, but it does.
Supposedly it’s because the ginger soaks up the “toxins” and other baddies, so the vege loses its bitterness. And you aren’t allowed to eat the ginger afterwards. You should discard it. It’s very bad for you. Tsk tsk.
Well, this all sounds very (NOT) scientific to me. But it does work, so what can I say. If you know why this works I’d love to hear about it.
In the mean time I’m going to continue enjoying the easiest vege ever.
Sweet and Crispy Chinese Vegetables – choose your sauce!
Source: one of my aunties told me
A bunch of leafy vegetables
4 slices of ginger – no need to peel it, just wash it well
3-5 cloves garlic, crushed
A splash of sauce of your choice – fish, soya, oyster, anything really
A dash of white pepper, if you like
Get some water in a pot. Drop in 2 slices of ginger and bring everything up to a boil.
Blanch your vege, and then cool it in a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking.
Fry the remaining 2 slices of ginger in a little oil. Add the garlic and keep going until it gets fragrant, but not too brown.
Add the vege and sauce of your choice, and give it a couple of quick stirs. Remove from heat immediately. Add the pepper if you want to.
Problem: want to eat fresh vegetables, but too lazy to cook after the effort of making onigiri. Here is your solution!
Tastes best with crispy fresh asparagus, because it’s one of those recipes where the taste of the actual vegetable comes through. It’d probably work with any vegetable actually, or even as a nice salad dressing.
Asparagus with Sesame Dressing
Adapted from About.com’s Japanese Food section. I wonder if it’s some sort of crime to use recipes from here? I’ve never seen other bloggers use anything from About.com.
About 200g of young asparagus
2-3 tablesp sushi vinegar
1 tablesp soya sauce
1 tablesp sesame oil
2 teasp sugar – or to taste
A few shakes of white pepper
Sesame seeds – I didn’t have this but it would be nice
Cook the asparagus somehow. I fried mine in a little oil, but you could also steam or blanche if you feel so inclined.
Mix up all the sauces and the sugar. Taste. Adjust if you like.
Pour the sauce over the asparagus, add the pepper, and some sesame seeds if you have them.