All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Renkon lotus root

Rhizome of Nelumbo nucifera
Underneath those beautiful, elegant lotus flowers and large saucer-shaped leaves, crunchy edible roots grow in the muddy water.

Hitachinokuni Fudoki, an early 8th century document of the Hitachi region (today's Ibaraki Prefecture), makes special mention of the taste and medicinal effects of starchy lotus root, saying, "growing in a swamp created by water flowing in from the heaven at the beginning of the world (in Japanese mythology), lotus roots taste incomparably delicious, and those who are ill quickly see recovery by eating them."

Lotus is often found in moats surrounding castles in Japan, and some people say it was planted as an emergency food, likely because of its high starch content and nutritious qualities, which have been known for centuries.

Lotus root is rich in Vitamin C (48 mg/100 g). For reference, one lemon contains about 50mg of Vitamin C. Although Vitamin C does not hold up well when cooked, lotus root’s high starch content protects Vitamin C from heat and retains it relatively well.
Lotus root also contains relatively high amounts of potassium (440 mg/100 g), iron (0.5 mg), copper (0.3 mg) and zinc (0.09 mg) as well as non-soluble fiber (1.8 g). With these nutrients, lotus root is effective for alleviating fatigue, preventing colds, improving skin conditions and lowering cholesterol. Another notable nutrient in lotus root is Vitamin B12, an uncommon element in vegetables that helps absorption of iron. And with its Vitamin B6 – known as a vitamin that facilitates formation of blood -- lotus root can help prevent anemia and aid liver function. 

Here is more lotus root trivia.
The sliminess of the surface of lotus root when cut or grated comes from mucin (also contained in nagaimo Chinese yam and satoimo baby taro root). which protects the wall of the stomach and promotes digestion of protein and fat.
Cut lotus root is soaked in water (often with vinegar) to prevent discoloration; the cause of this change in color is tannin, a type of polyphenol, which acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and to stop bleeding, and can be effective for prevention of stomach and duodenal ulcers.
Lectin, or sugar-binding proteins, helps immune cells called macrophages to identify pathogens.

When I was growing up, my mom always said "eat renkon" when I had problems clearing my throat. I still follow that advice today, and when I eat a lotus root dish, the problem usually disappears.

An impressive vegetable indeed.

Lotus root has about 10 holes (to circulate air) running through it, and you can see from one end to the other. Because of this characteristic, lotus root is one of the auspicious foods for celebrations, especially for the osechi New Year’s meal; lotus root lets you see your future and get a good perspective.

22 kcal/100 g; 91.8% water, 2.3% protein, 0.3% fat, 3.9% carbohydrate, 1.4% ash

Recipes with renkon

Try renkon in the following recipes

(Last updated: May 8, 2018)


Anonymous said...

Your steamed lotus root dumpling recipe is amazing. I wasn't aware that lotus root can be prepared this way - steamed. Thank you so much!

neco said...

Thank you for reading. Lotus root is quite versatile. Its dumplings are also often deep-fried (after steamed or without steaming) for crispy texture outside.