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Stir-Fried Japanese Lotus Root Recipe

This stir-fried Japanese lotus root recipe is super simple, and so tasty! It only has a few ingredients, but the end result is so good, I can hardly stop myself from eating the whole thing.

A low-angled shot of a pile of stir-fried lotus root on a black plate.

I first learned how to cook this Japanese lotus root recipe from my Japanese friend Tamae. We were at her house for a dinner party and she put a dish of this out on the table while she continued to prepare the rest of the meal.

The guests could not stop sneaking these crunchy, flavorful rounds. We pinched them with our fingers, popped them into our mouths, and then licked the salty-sweet glaze from our fingers.

Before we sat down to eat the meal, the stir-fried lotus root was all gone. I asked Tamae for the recipe and she invited me to come over on another day to make it with her.

I didn’t even write the recipe down, because it is so simple. I’ve made it exactly this way frequently over the years since then.

An overhead shot of a pile of stir-fried lotus root on a black plate.

WHAT IS LOTUS ROOT?

Lotus root is actually not a root at all, but the stem of a lotus plant that grows below the water. It grows in bulbous segments, each about 6 to 8 inches long.

They’re not much to look at in the market—just sort of beige and awkwardly shaped. But when you slice them into rounds, you’ll see that they have a beautiful pattern of holes running through them. The holes make a beautiful pattern in the slices.

You can buy fresh lotus root in most Asian markets. Or you can often find sliced lotus root in the freezer or refrigerator section.

Prepare lotus root by slicing off the end of each section and then peeling it with a paring knife or vegetable peeler. You can then slice it in either very thin rounds or thicker rounds, depending on how you plan to cook it.

Overhead shot showing the ingredients: cooking oil, sesame oil, dashi, lotus root, sugar, soy sauce, and sichimi togarashi.

What ingredients do you need to make this japanese lotus root recipe?

You can buy lotus root fresh in most Asian markets. Look for firm bulbs that don’t show any dark spots in ends.

You can often find sliced lotus root in the freezer section or in vaccuum-packed packages in the refrigerator section. Be sure to check the ingredients on these packaged versions since they sometimes are packed in brine that contains sugar and salt.

  • Cooking oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Lotus root
  • Dashi, broth (vegetable, chicken), or water
  • Sugar
  • Soy sauce
  • Sichimi togarashi (optional)

What is sichimi togarashi?

Sichimi togarashi means “seven peppers” and refers to a spice mixture that is used to garnish many Japanese dishes.

You can buy sichimi togarashi in bottles in Asian markets, Japanese markets, or online. Or you can make your own. My book Ramen for Beginners has a recipe for it.

The specific recipe for sichimi togarashi varies from brand to brand and cook to cook, but the standard mixture contains dried chiles, dried orange or tangerine zest, black and white sesame seeds, Sichuan peppercorns, ground ginger, poppy seeds, and crumbled nori (seaweed).

What is dashi?

Dashi is a light broth that is made from simmering umami packed ingredients like dried fish, seaweed, or mushrooms in water. You can use any type of dashi you like in this recipe.

You can buy powdered dashi (that just needs to be mixed with boiling water) in Japanese markets, Asian markets, or online.

Here dashi is used to infuse the lotus root with flavor as it cooks. You can substitute chicken or vegetable broth or even water if you like. Using dashi will give it an extra layer of authentic Japanese flavor.

How do you make stir fried lotus root?

This lotus root recipe is so easy to make! My friend showed it to me without measuring anything and that is how I have made it for the past 15 years. Only recently did I figure out the actual measurements. Here’s the process:

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the sliced lotus root and cook, stirring occasionally, starts to turn golden brown in parts, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the broth or water and cook, stirring, for a few minutes, until most of the liquid evaporates.
  4. Sprinkle the sugar over the lotus root slices and stir to incorporate.
  5. Add the soy sauce and cook, stirring, until it is absorbed and the lotus root slices are nicely golden brown.
  6. Serve hot, garnished with the sichimi togirashi, if using.

What do you serve with stir-fried lotus root?

This simple sauteed lotus root recipe makes a great addition to any Japanese meal. I often serve it alongside miso salmon or chicken karaage.

What other ways can you cook lotus root?

I love this recipe for Fried Renkon Chips from Chopstick Chronicles.

I’m interested to try this Korean version, called Yeongeun Jorim (Sweet Soy Braised Lotus Roots) from Korean Bapsang.

And this Chinese Lotus Root Salad from Pickled Plum is super refreshing, too.

Low angle shot of a plate of lotus root with a piece being held above it in chopsticks.

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Yield: Serves 6

Stir Fried Lotus Root

Low angle shot of sauteed lotus root garnished with sichimi togarashi on a black plate.

Stir fried lotus root is a quick, easy Japanese side dish. Lotus root really absorbs the flavors you cook it with.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 medium section lotus root (about 1 pound), peeled and sliced thin
  • 3 tablespoons dashi, broth, or water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • Togirashi, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat the cooking oil and sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the sliced lotus root and cook, stirring occasionally, until it starts to brown in places, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the broth or water and cook, stirring, for a few minutes, until most of the liquid evaporates.
  4. Sprinkle the sugar over the lotus root slices and stir to incorporate.
  5. Add the soy sauce and cook, stirring, until it is absorbed and the lotus root slices are nicely golden brown, about 1 minute more.
  6. Serve hot, garnished with the sichimi togirashi, if using.

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