What is Lotus Root?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

The lotus root is a root vegetable that is indigenous to Asia, and is found underwater. Similar in shape to a long squash, it is not uncommon for lotus roots to grow to a length of four feet. The exterior of this root is covered with a peel that is a reddish brown color in appearance, with a white interior that has the appearance of lace. The meat has a texture that is slightly crunchy, and mildly sweet.

Lotus is a root vegetable found underwater.
Lotus is a root vegetable found underwater.

Preparation of this food involves removing the peeling to reveal the white interior. Often, the root can be sliced or cut into sections for use in different types of recipes. When eaten raw, sections of lotus root can be used with dips or eaten alone, much in the same manner as celery or carrot sticks. Chopping lotus root into smaller pieces also makes it ideal for inclusion in cold salads as an extra layer of sweetness to balance out the overall flavor of the greens and the dressing. Sections of the root can be hollowed out and filled with such tasty fillers as cream cheese or pimento cheese, making a colorful and welcome addition to any tray of finger foods.

A bowl of sliced lotus root.
A bowl of sliced lotus root.

When using lotus roots in a cooked dish, the crisp texture shines when used with other root vegetables. It works well in stir-fry dishes, especially when used with a range of brightly colored vegetables and sections of bean curd. It is also possible to prepare this ingredient by baking longer sections, after coring the sections and filling them with rice and vegetable mixtures. The lotus root also works well in soups, stews, and as a steamed side dish for a meal.

When selecting lotus roots, it is a good idea to always go with those that have a firm texture, appears to be plump and juicy, and does not have much in the way of exterior blemishes or soft spots. They should be wrapped in clear plastic wrap and stored in the vegetable drawer in the refrigerator. Generally, the lotus root should be prepared within a week of purchase, in order to ensure the best taste and texture.

Lotus root may be chopped into small pieces and added to a salad.
Lotus root may be chopped into small pieces and added to a salad.
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


I bought a package of refrigerated sliced lotus root slices and have had them in my fridge for a while. There is no expiration date on the package. How long do they keep in the fridge?


I discovered lotus root when I was in Japan. I continue to buy them from the Asian store now that I'm back. I love making fries with them.

I slice the lotus root very thinly and keep it in water with some vinegar for ten to fifteen minutes. This not only prevents them from getting dark, but it makes them even crispier when fried. I then fry them quickly in some olive oil and add salt.

It tastes very good and is considerably healthier than french fries. Yum!


@donasmrs-- Definitely. Lotus is widespread in India. The lotus flower has religious significance in Hinduism and Mahalakshmi, the deity of fortune, is portrayed sitting on a lotus flower.

Lotus root is added to curries and is deep fried as a snack in India. It's ideal for vegetarian dishes and cooking with spices since the root itself is very bland. It can also be ground and mixed with chickpea flour to make vegetarian kofta, similar to spinach kofta.


Is lotus used in Indian cuisine?


Lotus is not just indigenous to Asia. The American Lotus is native to north America and was a food staple for indigenous peoples.


Lotus root + peanuts + pork ribs = one of my favorite Chinese soups ever.


A lot of Chinese food recipes actually use lotus root, so you may have eaten it without knowing it, especially if it was put in a stir fry.

Personally, I usually only try a recipe for stir fry if it has lotus root in it -- I've gotten to where I can't do without that unique crunchiness and sweetness.

And besides, lotus root is so pretty! The holes that run the length of the root make it look almost like a flower when you slice it thinly, and can make even the humblest of stir frys look fancy.


Did you know that they also make lotus flower root butter? It's almost like peanut butter, and many Chinese people use it to make moon cakes (a traditional autumn cake) and other desserts.

Because the lotus flower roots are mixed with peanut oil to make the butter, it does have a slightly peanut-y taste, but the sweetness of the lotus flower root offsets it nicely.

A must-try for any fans of Asian recipes!


I love lotus root! If you ever need something to spice up your Asian recipes, lotus root is a great choice. It's really crunchy, almost like celery, but without the strings.

Lotus roots work really well in any recipe for stir fry, and they're also good in soup.

One really good, but simple lotus root recipe that I like to make is a lotus root soup. All you do is to take lotus root, a slice of sweet potato, some stewing pork, a slice of cantaloupe, and some white fungus (available in Asian grocery stores).

You put it all in the pot together, and let it simmer for a few hours. When the lotus root becomes rather spongy, then it's ready to eat.

Definitely a great winter night food -- and the crunch of the lotus root makes the whole texture so interesting.

However you try it though, I would definitely recommend trying lotus root sometime in your life -- whether you love it or hate it, it's an experience not to be missed.

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