Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Lotus Root For Longevity

Lotus Root
The lovely lotus is an exotic plant that grows in muddy ponds or paddies in tropical climates. The rhizomes, which form fat links, are planted in the mud under water; new leaves emerge from them, the stems elongating so that the first two or three leaves float on top of the water. The stem continues to grow, and subsequent leaves stand above the water. The showy, fragrant flowers, usually pink or rose-colored but sometimes white, bloom in late summer.
The rhizome, or "root", of the lotus has been a delicacy in Oriental cooking for over a millennium. Its mild flavor combines well with most other vegetables, and its crunchy texture is appealing in stir-fried dishes or thinly sliced and deep-fried with or without batter. In Japan it is also enjoyed in vinegared specialties and simmered dishes. When the root is sliced into rounds, the several small tunnels that run the length of each link create a decorative pattern that can lend an artful touch to a meal.
Harvested only in fall and winter, fresh lotus root is difficult to find even when it is in season. If you are unable to find fresh lotus root, look for packages of dried sliced lotus in your natural food store. Dried lotus sold in Oriental markets is likely to be bleached, so be sure the label says "unbleached" before purchasing.
Nutrition and Health Benefits
Besides its use as a food, all parts of the lotus plant - seeds, leaves, and flowers as well as the root - have long been respected in the East for their medicinal properties. In Oriental medicine lotus seeds are eaten to increase energy and vitality and to aid digestion. Containing twenty percent protein, the seeds are also nourishing. Though the entire rhizome can be used medicinally, the portion where the links join has the greatest effect. The physical resemblance of lotus root to the lungs is a clue to its healing properties. Lotus root has traditionally been used to treat various respiratory problems. Small doses of the juice extracted from raw, finely grated lotus root is prescribed for lung-related ailments, such as tuberculosis, asthma, and coughing, for heart disease, and to increase energy and neutralize toxins. Lotus root is said to melt mucus accumulation in the body, especially in the respiratory system. Lotus Root Tea is also said to be effective, particularly to relieve coughing. A macrobiotic remedy combining lotus root and kuzu is often used to treat colds accompanied by fever and/or troubled stomach and intestines.
Combined with the juice of grated ginger, lotus root juice is said to be good for enteritis (inflammation of the intestine). A plaster compress made from lotus root, white flour, and grated ginger is considered an effective folk remedy for dispersing and moving stagnated mucus. When applied to the face, lotus root plaster can relieve sinus congestion and inflammation.

Recipes 
Traditional Chinese Lotus Soup 



Ingredients:
1½-2 lbs pork riblet, washed ( more if you like meat but must blanched according to step (1) below)
2 sections of lotus root, skin scoured and cut into 1/2-inch rounds ( add 2 more sections if you like strong taste of lotus root)
1 piece dried fish/ scallop( no need if you don't like seafood)
10-12 pitted dried red dates
½ - 1  cup raw skinless peanuts, washed and drained
12 cups water (approximate)
sea salt and pepper to taste ( a dash of rice wine if you are sensitive to the smell of meat)
Method:
1. In a large deep pot, add enough water to cover meat and bones. Bring to a fast boil, remove and wash meat in cold running water to remove scum and impurities.
2. Put meat and bones, lotus root, red dates, peanuts and water, making sure water should cover the ingredients completely. Cook without the lid on high for 30 minutes. Replace lid and simmer for another hour and half, until the meat and lotus root are soft and fragrant. Season to taste and serve with rice.

via Just Hungry.com
Lotus root, cucumber and Serrano ham salad
  • 1/2 lotus root, sliced very thinly and the slices cut into halves
  • 1/2 English or seedless cucumber, de-seeded and sliced thin
  • 1-2 slices of Serrano or other dried ham, cut into thin slivers
  • 1/2 Tbs. rice vinegar plus additional for cooking
  • Dash salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbs. mayonnaise
Put the sliced lotus root into vinegar water as you slice it, as described above. Bring a pot of water to a boil, and add a little vinegar. Boil the lotus root for a couple of minutes. Drain and cool under running water; drain well.
Mix the vegetables and seasonings except the mayonnaise together well with your hands, scrunching them a bit to let the flavors penetrate. Add the mayonnaise and ham and mix well. Serve immediately, or cool in the refrigerator until dinner time.


Stir-fried lotus root with sesame and green onions

  • 1/2 lotus root, sliced very thinly
  • 1 piece of fresh ginger about 1 inch / 2 cm or so long, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloved, peeled and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups of roughly chopped green onions
  • 2 Tbs. hot red chili pepper, finely chopped
  • Oil
  • Vinegar for the lotus root water
  • 1 Tbs. sesame seeds
  • Pepper
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
Put the sliced lotus root into vinegar water as you slice it, as described above. Drain well just before cooking.
Heat up a large frying pan with the oil. Add ginger and garlic, and stir fry until the oil is very fragrant. Add the drained lotus root slices in a single layer. Cook until the lotus root slices start to change color - they turn a bit translucent looking. Turn over and cook a couple more minutes.
Add the chili pepper and green onions, and stir-fry. Add the sesame seeds, pepper, soy sauce and sesame oil. The lotus roots should get a bit caramelized from the soy sauce. Serve hot or cold. This is very nice for bento.

Vegan Japanese Cuisine: New Lotus Roots & Umeboshi

(via beautiful Japanese Blogger - Shizuoka Gourmet)

Lotus roots, when new and fresh, should be prized for their great natural taste. They can even be eaten almost raw after a little marinating. The Japanese have a simple and delicate way to prepare them with umeboshi/Japanese pickled plums, which should please vegans and vegetarians (and omnivores). It certainly makes for a great snack with Japanese sake or shochu!
INGREDIENTS:
-Lotus root: 1 piece, 10 cm long. Choose it absolutely fresh and comparatively slender.
-Umeboshi: 2
-Shiso/perilla leaves: 2
-Japanese sake: according to taste and preferences.
-Soy sauce: according to taste and preferences.
-Rice vinegar: according to taste and preferences.
RECIPE:
-Peel and cut the lotus root into hin slices. Wash them 2 or 3 times in cold clean water.
-In a pan heat some water to just before boiling point. Add some rice vinegar and cook the lotus roots in eat until they become translucent.
Do not overcook them. Drain them thoroughly and put aside.
-Take the seeds out of the umebshi and sieve the meat into a bowl. Add Japanese sake (or cooking sake) to make it into a thin liquid paste. add a few drops of soy sauce for seasoning. Taste. If it is too sour to your liking add some mirin/sweet Japanese sake.
-Add the umeboshi to the lotus roots slices and mix well so as to cover all the lotus root slices surface.
-Cut the shiso/perilla leaves in 3 first, then chopp them fine across.
-Serve as in the picture, lotus root sliced mounted on top of each other and topped with chopped shiso leaves.


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