savory dishes & taste of home recipes: fried lotus root and eclectic grilled chicken
To marry ingredients from every continent in the world does not make a continental dish, rather an eclectic one. Your senses will surely be receiving an explosion of flavor, and you simply won’t know what hit you. Grilled chicken is always considered a healthy dish to prepare. But if you don’t use your imagination, it can be bland and totally not worth the calories that you might as well eat cardboard. Eating smart and healthy need not mean you have to sacrifice taste. In fact, creating the perfectly healthy and delicious dish should always be your end goal.
Chicken breast is the leanest part of the chicken. It has a tendency to get dry if not cooked properly. My secret ingredient to keep the chicken breast moist is to season it with fig sauce as well as to seal in the juices with potato starch. I serve the grilled chicken with Japanese potato salad, Japanese broccoli salad, and what I think is not only a garnish but a wonderful side dish that adds texture to make a perfect meal… fried lotus root.
Lotus root (renkon in Japanese) is the rhizome of a lotus plant. It’s a popular vegetable in Asia and is a rich source of fiber. It has become part of my everyday life and I love sautéing it with Japanese nasu (eggplant). Like most Asian eggplants, the Japanese kind has thin skin and has a sweet and delicate flavor compared to the American kind which is a lot bigger, with seeds which give of a slightly bitter taste.
Here is a simple recipe of fried lotus root that would add crunch to every dish. It has mirin, which is a basic ingredient in Japanese cooking. It’s made up of 40-50% sugar and is a kind of sweet rice wine. Chicken recipe can be found here and Japanese Potato Salad here. Please note that the broccoli salad is the same as the potato salad with ingredients used.
Lotus root (Recipe Adapted from Cookpad by MOJ: Japanese Language Only, you can use the google chrome browser to automatically translate the site)
Water with a little vinegar to prevent lotus root from darkening.
2 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp mirin
3 tbsp starch
Salt according to taste
Peel and slice lotus root and put cut pieces in water mixed with a little vinegar to keep it from darkening. Mix with all the rest of the ingredients, coat with starch, then fry until golden brown.