My younger son is a very fussy eater. He is the most fussy eater I have ever known.
He doesn’t consider fruits and vegetables are his food in general. I make extra effort to chop vegetables very fine, but quite often he manages to pick them all out of his plate. His chopstick skill is amazing.
I know I shouldn’t, but I cannot help myself starting an argument over food sometimes. More effort you put into your cooking, larger disappointment you get when your effort goes to waste.
But he likes some of the Asian vegetables. His favorite are Daikon radish and Renkon lotus roots. I went to a Chinese supermarket last week and got them both.
Lotus is an amazing plant. The flowers, seeds, young leaves, and roots are all edible. In Asia, the petals are sometimes used for garnish, while the large leaves are used as a wrap for food. The lotus root is a long, woody object that attaches to the bottom of the pad and can stretch up to 4 feet. They can be washed, sliced, and prepared. It is considered to be a good luck food in Japan and often served for New Years Day.
It doesn’t have strong smell or flavour, but it has pleasant texture similar to water chestnuts. The root is a good source of Vitamin C, B complex, and provides healthy amounts of some important minerals like copper, iron, zinc, magnesium, and manganese.
You peel the outer skin with a vegetable peeler and immediately soak them in a large bowl of water with a dash of vinegar. This is to prevent it from darkening.
There are lots of fantastic recipes using lotus roots. One of our favorite is the Kinpira. Kinpira is a Japanese cooking style that can be summarized as a technique of “sauté and simmer”. The dish features the use of soy sauce and mirin, as well as often slivered chili peppers.
3/4 lb renkon (lotus root), peeled and sliced into thin rounds or thin half rounds
1 tbsp vegetable oil and 1 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp sake
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame seeds
chili powder or dried, slivered chili pepper if you wish
Prepare Renkon slices as shown in above. Drain and dry with paper towels. Heat oil in a large skillet. Stir-fry renkon slices for a few minutes on medium heat. Add sake, soy sauce and sugar and stir-fry until the liquid is gone. Stop the heat and sprinkle sesame seeds at last.
So if you ever come across lotus roots at Asian market, you know what to do.
Kinpira is very easy and handy when you want to add a vegetable side dish to your plate. You can use the same method to cook other vegetables such as carrot, burdock root, parsnip, potato or beansprout.
They are healthy and yummy!