I like to define Renkon れ ん こ ん as a piece of art made by nature.
I’ve always been fascinated by its shape and intrigued by his characteristic flavor, but in Italy, I never found the opportunity to taste it. Here in Japan instead, especially now that it’s spring and it’s finally in season, I found it every day and because and it’s on our table almost every week!
With Renkon we indicate the root of the lotus, the beautiful flower that is often seen in the photos floating on ponds in India or China.
With his thousand shades of colors, this flower is considered by Buddhists the symbol of human life which, despite sinking its roots into the mud that represented the hard reality, remains clean on the surface.
The renkon is the part immersed in the water in which the plant preserves all its nutritional elements necessary to survive. It is, therefore, an important source of phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals, with a high concentration of fibers.
His best characteristic is his internal structure. From the cylindrical shape, inside you can find concentric holes that, at the time of cutting, give life to figures similar to wheels that, with a bit of labor, can become beautiful flowers.
The taste? It’s all to discover!
With a delicate flavor, both cooked and raw they manage to maintain a delicious crunchiness. For this reason, once fried and flavored with a bit of salt, they can be an inviting substitute for classic chips.
Japanese home cooking is known for unconditional use of roots. Starting from Burdock, sweet potatoes, taro, daikon … They represent those sides dishes that are present on the tables all year around.
The Renkon is part of this category of dishes and its use in the kitchen is really varied.
Roasted, fried, marinated, stuffed, boiled … its preparations give space to the imagination.
Being a fan of crunchy and tasty dishes, our favorite recipe can only be one: the Kinpira Renkon.
First, remove the skin of your Renkon with the help of a potato peeler and wash it well. Cut it into slices about 1 – 2 mm as regular as possible and leave them to soak in water for about 10 to 15 minutes.
After that, dry them well.
In a pan with high sides, heat your 1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil and toss your Renkon slices.
Turn them from time to time so that they absorb some oil and do not burn.
ATTENTION! Renkon must be cooked quickly on a high flame to maintain the crunchiness!
After part of the oil has been absorbed, add the sake, vegetable stock, mirin and soy sauce. Lower the heat to a medium temperature. Cook and turn them over until the water has been absorbed and has not evaporated.
Serve it on a plate and sprinkle the surface with pepper and … い た だ き ま す (bon appetit)！
If you are interested in another recipe from Japan linked to traditional classic Side-Dishes, I suggest you also take a look at Taste of Japan: Taste of Japan: Anko – Azuki Red Bean Cream (Sweet)