renkon June 7, 2009Posted by AnnaTheRed in Everything else.
Still working on my friend’s birthday gift, so again, no bento blog… (I’ll post a picture when it’s done!)
Instead, I’m going to write a little bit about renkon.
I use renkon (lotus root) in my bento almost all the time, so I decided to take a couple of pictures for those who have never seen renkon.
Lotus root comes in various size and length. The one in the picture is a section of a long lotus root. You can snap off the sections very easily.
You can either wash the skin thoroughly removing the thin layer of the skin, or just peel the skin with a peeler. As you can see, there are lot of holes in renkon, so mold may grow inside during the warm seasons. You can’t really see the mold until you slice it… That’s why if I’m not planning to use it right away I usually slice it and store in a tupperware container in water mixed with vinegar.
Add a bit of vinegar (or lemon juice) to water to prevent discoloration and to remove the tannic-ness. If you don’t soak it in the vinegar water, it gets reddish-brown like an apple which is not so appetizing. When I cook renkon, I just wash it and cook it. It’ll stay crispy for a pretty long time even after it’s been soaking in water.
I usually use sauteed renkon to put on the bottom of bento box, but you can slice it thin and fry it to make renkon chips (sweet and yummy), or sandwich ground beef with chopped onion with two pieces of renkon, and make renkon-burg, or you can crush it and put inside meatballs, or you can put it in stew, or you can just put uncooked sliced renkon in salad, etc… There are so many different dishes you can cook with renkon. I’d say the texture is very similar to water chestnuts, and has a little bit of a sweet flavor like yams.
I don’t know how easy is it to get renkon in where everyone lives, but they usually sell it at Chinatown or Asian market. It’s about $2/lb. There are so many recipes for renkon, and most renkon dishes are very easy to make. So if you happen to find renkon, you should get it. You will not regret it. 🙂