Fried Lotus Root Cake with Grated Daikon Sauce
Depending on how it's cooked, the texture of lotus root varies from crunchy to starchy and sticky—almost like a rice cake. This elegant dish allows you to enjoy different textures at the same time.
Photographed by Masaya Suzuki
Soups & Stews
Calorie count is per serving.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
[Lotus root cake]
- 2 segments lotus root (450 g)
- 2 tsp potato starch
- 1 tsp usukuchi soy sauce
- A pinch of salt
[Grated daikon sauce]
- 200 g daikon radish
- 250 ml dashi
- 25 ml usukuchi soy sauce
- 25 ml mirin
- Potato starch thickener, as neededNote
*Equal amounts of potato starch and water mixed together.
- 2 Japanese green onions (chopped)Note
- Grated ginger, as needed
- Oil for deep frying
Separate 50 g of the lotus root and cut into 5 mm thick dices. Grate the rest and gently squeeze out the excess moisture. Grate and thoroughly drain the daikon for the [Grated daikon sauce].
Combine the [Lotus root cake] ingredients in a bowl. Divide and shape into eight oval patties (the oval shape will help reduce the cooking time).
Heat the frying oil to 170 degrees Celsius. You can test the temperature by dipping a chopstick into it. If tiny bubbles form around the tip, then the oil is ready. Deep-fry the patties for 5-6 minutes, but be careful of splattering or bursting.
Pour the dashi, usukuchi soy sauce, and mirin for the [Grated daikon sauce] into a saucepan and place over heat. Bring to a gentle boil, add the potato starch thickener, and stir until the sauce starts to thicken. Add the grated daikon and mix thoroughly. Return to a gentle boil and immediately turn off the heat.
Plate the lotus root cakes and cover with the [Grated daikon sauce]. Top with green onions and grated ginger.
The key to cooking all deep-fried foods lies in getting the oil to the right temperature. If the oil isn't hot enough, the food will come out greasy; if it's too hot, the surface will burn before the interior is cooked. Before testing the temperature, stir the oil with chopsticks so that the temperature is even throughout.
[Testing the oil temperature]
There are two ways to do this if you don't have an oil-safe thermometer.
Drop a little batter or breading into the oil.
If it sinks to the bottom, the temperature is low.
If it dips halfway but floats up again, the temperature is medium.
If it remains on the surface, the temperature is high.
Dip a dampened cooking chopstick into the oil.
If a few tiny bubbles appear over time, the temperature is low.
If a large number of tiny bubbles form around the tip of the chopstick, the temperature is medium.
If large bubbles form all at once, the temperature is high.
[Maintaining the oil temperature]
Using an insufficient amount of oil or overcrowding the pan will result in a dramatic temperature drop and you'll end up with oily food. Use a relatively wide pan and fry in small batches that cover only 1/3 of the cooking surface.