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


Renkon to ginnan no shiokoji kinpira / spicy lotus root and gingko nut saute

A quick saute of crunchy lotus root slices and chewy gingko nuts. While soy sauce is usually the main seasoning in salty, sweet and spicy kinpira saute, using salt or shiokoji salted rice malt helps to retain the color of ingredients and brings out the taste of ginkgo nuts.

1/2 recipe:
96 calories; 2.1 g protein; 2.5 g fat; 16.1 g carbohydrate; 14.2 g net carbs; 105 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 1.9 g fiber

5-6 cm large (7-8 cm small) renkon lotus root (135 g in photo)
1/4-1/2 tsp vinegar (optional; not in photo)
Small handful ginnan gingko nuts (18 prepped nuts; 31 g in photo)
1 taka no tsume red chili pepper (slices)
2 tsp sake
1 tsp shiokoji salted rice malt
1/2 tsp canola oil
1/2 tsp sesame oil


Skin and slice lotus root 4-5 mm thick.
If large in diameter, cut in half or quarters, as desired.
Immediately soak in cold water with small amount of vinegar.
(Adding vinegar to water is optional. See Notes.)

Drain after 5 minutes.


Heat canola and sesame oil in frying pan, and saute lotus root slices on medium heat for a few minutes.


hen lotus root slices start to look done (somewhat translucent), add taka no tsume and gingko nuts, and continue sauteing a few more minutes.

Add sake and shiokoji, mix well, and cook until all liquid is gone. 

Ready to serve.

  • Adding vinegar to water when soaking lotus root prevents discoloration, but it is optional. Tinting occurs when cut surfaces are exposed to air (more specifically, oxidation of tannin), so that immediately soaking cut lotus root or slices in water can take care of discoloration to some degree.
  • Mixing canola oil with sesame oil is done for the same reason (to prevent a brownish tint from sesame oil).
  • 1 tsp oil in total is a bit too much for the ingredients above. Although excess oil will be left in the frying pan, 1/2 tsp or slightly more oil should be enough.
  • Tastes good hot or at room temperature.


Diane Claeys said...

Thank you for your kindness to post some easy, quick and still very tasteful and original
I have little time for the moment, so these kind of recipes are welcome.
Your way of cooking reflect the love for nature and tradition.
Please continue posting!


neco said...

Hi Diane,
Thank you for the message! More recipes follow.
A modern translation of the old tenzo lesson book I read recently made me realize how little I am doing and how much more to explore.

Anonymous said...

Just when I was thinking how to prepare lotus roots a bit different than usual... I love renkon and new recipes featuring it are most welcome (all other recipes, too, of course). Thank you.

The tenzo cooking book sounds awesome.

Best regards, Philip

neco said...

Hi Philip,
Hope you enjoyed the dish!

The modern Japanese translation of the tenzo book that I read is a very simple version, but it is still a good reminder about what we can do in everyday cooking. I still put a lot of food into the compost pail, including those that could have been used if eaten soon enough or reused to make something else. Time constraint is another issue, but I thought I could and should pay more attention --- it is just one of the lessons from the book.

If interested, here is a link ( to a page listing English translation and partial French translation of Tenzo Kyokun (Instructions for the Cook), a 13th-centruy essay by Dogen, the founder of Soto school of Zen Buddhism.