Stir Fry Lotus Root and Chives 韭菜花炒蓮藕
By Ellen L.Published: 2014-08-23
Ah! The lovely lotus! That delicate flower that rises gracefully from the dark still waters of Chinese lakes. What a wonderful flower! Not only supremely beautiful (inspiring Chinese painters to masterpieces for thousands of years) but also a giver of life and sustenance. Every part of this flower can be used for food, from the roots to the flowers to the seed and the leaves! How cool is that?! I am always constantly amazed by the lotus flower, seemingly so delicate and fragile, yet so strong and resilient underneath. We use the delightfully crunchy sweet lotus root to make this easy stir fry vegetable dish, Stir Fry Lotus Root and Chives, or 韭菜花炒蓮藕.
|Ducks in a Lotus Pond, detail of 17th century painting|
When buying your lotus roots, or 蓮藕, check that the root is very hard. Never mind if it is covered in mud, after all the root is dug out from the bottom of lakes. Just be sure to give the lotus root a good washing, including in the holes inside the root. You will want to slice the roots quite thinly, the thickness makes a big difference to the final dish. If the slices are thick, the overall impression is one of a lot of chewing. When the slices are thin, the sensation is one of delightful sweet crispiness. And a real looker too, the beautiful graphic pattern of the lotus root never fails to please the eye.
When buying your flowering garlic chives, or 韭菜花, the key is to look for slender stems. Very slender stems will be tender when cooked. If you cannot find slender stem chives consider chopping off the bottom inch or so of the stems. You don't want tough chives in your stir fry! And yes, those round bits at the end are the buds of the flower. So in this Stir Fry Lotus Root and Chives dish you are really eating flowers aren't you? Stir Fry Flowers! How super cool is that!
Stir Fry Lotus Root and Chives Recipe 韭菜花炒蓮藕
8" length of lotus root
1 bunch flowering garlic chives
2 garlic cloves, smashed
3 tbsp oil
1 tbsp chinese rice wine
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 cup water
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp potato starch (or corn starch)
Cut off the end bits of lotus root so that the holes are exposed and wash thoroughly both inside and out. Shave off the skin of the root with fruit peeler. Holding firmly to the root, slice into 1/8" slices. If you find it too hard to slice, cut the root in half lengthwise, lay flat side on cutting board and slice like that.
Wash and cut chives into 2 1/2 inch lengths. Heat wok til hot, add oil, then add smashed garlic cloves. When garlic fragrance rises, add in lotus roots. Stir fry over high heat for 1 minute, then add in chives, salt, splash in the rice wine and stir fry for 1 more minute. Add oyster sauce, sugar and water, cover and turn heat to low. Let simmer for another 2 minutes. Prepare the starch in small bowl with 1 tbsp water. Remove lid, give the starch a final stir and pour in. Stir until the sauce thickens and clings lightly to the vegetables. Remove from heat and serve.
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