Lotus root (yeon-geun, 연근) is the underwater stem of the lotus plant. It’s a commonly used vegetable in Asian countries, including Korea, and highly praised for being rich in fiber and essential nutrients such as Vitamin C and potassium. My favorite way to eat this crunchy and starchy lotus root is to simply stir-fry (bokkeum, 볶음) with some other vegetables.
To prepare the lotus root for cooking, peel the skin, slice or cut into bite size pieces, rinse, and then soak in the vinegar water. This will remove any impurities inside and the slight bitterness of the lotus root and prevent from discoloring. You can also prepare lotus root by pre-boiling in vinegar water for a couple of minutes if you like it softer.
For other vegetables, I like to use a mix of bell peppers and hot chili peppers. I love colorful bell peppers, and am trying to eat more of them because they are also loaded with fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. You can use any color bell peppers or hot chili peppers. These vegetables pair really well with the mild tasting lotus roots, adding slightly peppery flavors to the dish, while doubling the health benefits.
Another vegetable I’d like to add to my stir-fries is mushrooms. I love earthy flavors of mushrooms! You can use any mushrooms to this dish. They add another dimension to the flavors of the dish, and are again highly nutritional!
This stir-fry dish comes together very quickly once you have prepared the vegetables. Enjoy it as a side dish or a light meal with a bowl of rice!
Stir-fried lotus root with peppers and mushrooms (Yeon-geun Bokkeum)
- 12 to 14 ounces lotus root
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- 4 ounces mushrooms
- 3 to 4 green chili pepper or use green bell pepper
- 2 to 3 plump garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce or use more soy sauce for a vegan dish
- 1 tablespoon rice wine or mirin or white wine
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup or oligodang
- 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon sesame seeds
- Cut the tough ends of the lotus root, and peel the skin with a potato peeler.
- Cut the lotus root in half lengthwise and then into bite size pieces. Rinse in water. Add 2 tablespoons vinegar in 3 cups of water, and soak the lotus root for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Cut the peppers and mushrooms into small bite size pieces.
- Heat a large skillet with two tablespoons oil. Add the garlic and lotus root, and lightly sprinkle with salt. Stir fry until the lotus root pieces turn translucent, 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the mushrooms, and stir fry until the mushrooms turn soft, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the peppers, and stir fry until the peppers are slightly wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice wine, and corn syrup. Continue to cook, stirring well, until the sauce is almost gone, 2 to 3 minutes. Drizzle the sesame oil at the end, and sprinkle with the sesame seeds to serve.