Saturday, November 08, 2008

Lotus Root Tempura

Mmm, Mmm, Mmm! I had fried Lotus Root when I did a chef's tasting at Maison Akira in Pasadena and was hooked! So the next time I visited Marukai for my once a month shopping spree - I picked up a vaccummed sealed bag of pre-sliced lotus root from the veggie section thinking I'd give it a try. (and giving ice cream a break for a while)
Raw pre-sliced Lotus Root
Now 'Fear of Fear itself' is a very strong thing. Because I had never worked with lotus root before (it's a strange looking root thing with holes in in when you slice it cross-section) I was intimidated by it. I was afraid I'd mess it up or it was one of those things that would taste horrible when not done exactly right. I was afraid of the unknown...but since my ice cream kick (no, I did NOT make lotus root ice cream)...I had renewed confidence in experimentation and thought I'd give the lotus root a go. (And of course, my husband would kill me if I threw another bag of food out because I didn't get around to using it - we're all about using/eating EVERYTHING and I get really depressed when I don't use something.)
Tempura batter
So - the idea of lotus root tempura came to mind and the fear intensified. I'd never made a tempura batter before either! In desperation, I called my mom and my sister on the way home to ask them how to make it - they gave me a few tips but they could not recant the whole recipe. So out with the laptop again in the kitchen and googled 'Tempura Batter'. Not too bad really - with ice bath experience gained from ice cream making, making the tempura batter in an ice bath was a sinch. In not time I had batter and oil hot on the stove...I was ready.
Lotus Root Deep Fry
I heard about using Peanut Oil for deep frying and thought maybe this would be a good spot to use it since it may lend some additional flavor to the root since roots really don't have too much flavor (i.e. Daikon). Plus, I didn't have anymore Canola Oil and I'm glad I ran out! Because the lotus root turned out great! Mind you, lotus root will give you more texture than taste so to bring out the flavor, sprinkle generously with flaked sea salt and if you really like salt, some regular spiced sea salt. I used a sea salt that I got as a gift. One of my high school friends runs an online spice shop in Hawaii with his wife, how cool!
Finished product
Anyway - it turned out great and it's kind of like eating chips but not. The lotus root is crunchy and you can just keep eating these till they are all gone. My husband was very weary when he saw them at first and then he ended up eating half of the bowl with dinner. Hey - anything that tastes remotely like a chip that can give me a dose of vegetable is awesome in my book.
Lotus Root Closeup - Yum
"Fear of fear itself" more! At least not with Lotus Root and Tempura, haha.


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