Crispy Stuffed Lotus Root (Renkon Hasami-age)
Inspired by a dish cooked in Episode 10 of Izakaya Bottakuri, a mixture of seasoned ground pork and vegetables is sandwiched between thin slices of fresh lotus root, dredged in starch and fried until golden and crisp.For the best experience, cut the crispy stuffed lotus root into halves, squeeze lemon juice directly into the filling, and dip lightly in salt before taking a bite.
To cook the stuffed lotus root
- potato starch or corn starch (see notes after the recipe)
- cooking oil for frying
- lemon wedges
- salt optionally, mixed with ground pepper
Prep the lotus root
- Using a vegetable peeler (or a paring knife), peel the lotus root.
- Cut the peeled lotus root into thin slices (thinner than a quarter of an inch if you can manage it).
- Half fill a large bowl with water, stir in a teaspoon of vinegar and dump the sliced lotus root in the liquid to avoid discoloration while you prepare the filling.
Make the filling
- Mix together all the ingredients for the filling.
Stuff the lotus root
- Drain the lotus root slices and dry between paper towels.
- Lay a slice of lotus root flat on one hand and cover it with the ground pork mixture (see notes after the recipe).
- Take another slice of lotus root and cover the filling. Press lightly to remove air pockets.
- Repeat until all lotus root slices have been stuffed.
- Dredge each stuffed lotus root lightly in starch. Make sure that you coat the exposed portion of the filling with starch too.
Fry the stuffed lotus root
- In a frying pan or wok, heat enough cooking oil to reach a depth of at least three inches.
- Fry the stuffed lotus root in batches of three or four. If they are not completely submerged in oil, you will need to flip them over for even cooking.
- Cook the stuffed lotus roots for four to five minutes or until the surface is golden and crisp.
Serve your stuffed lotus root
- Drain the fried stuffed lotus root and drain on paper towels.
- Cut each piece into halves and serve with lemon wedges and salt.
Do not use tapioca starch as it will create a chewy crust. Do not overstuff the lotus root. Cooking time shoud be short so that the lotus root slices retain much of the crunchiness instead of turning starchy.