10:00 AM EST
Make These Now: Korean Candied Lotus Roots
Korean Candied Lotus Roots (연근정과, yeongeun-jeonggwa), pierced with a bamboo skewer, look like a confection straight from the pages of Dr. Seuss. I love their subtle flavor and multiple layers of texture (crisp outside, soft inside). This elegant addition to your dessert repertoire is also the PERFECT sweet treat for the upcoming Asian New Year (February 10, 2013)…hint, hint.
Candied lotus roots are easy to make but whenever you cook with hot sugar things can get messy. Keep an organized work space and clean-up will be a breeze.
• 1 lotus root
• 2 cups water
• 1 ½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
• vegetable oil
• 3 tablespoons demerara sugar
• 2 tablespoons honey
• bamboo skewers, parchment paper
You may have to head to an Asian grocery to find lotus root. Look for roots (rhizomes, technically) that are firm in texture and without soft or dark spots. For this recipe look for a piece that is about the size of a really big sweet potato. Trim the ends and use a vegetable peeler to remove the thin outer peel (much like a squash). Slice into pretty little half-inch thick coins.
Boil the water and vinegar in a medium sized pot and add the lotus root coins. Place a lid on the pot but allow some space for steam to escape. Cook the lotus root for 6-7 minutes.
Transfer the lotus roots to a plate lined with paper towel to absorb excess liquid. Separately, heat a good drizzle (3-4 Tablespoons) of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the lotus root coins, flipping every minute until just about browned. Work in batches if all your slices don’t fit in the skillet.
Just as you think the lotus root is starting to brown, sprinkle the sugar evenly over the coins. Continue to stir and flip the coins to evenly coat them with the caramelizing sugar. When the pieces have a distinct caramel color and sweet smell, drizzle the honey over the skillet. Stir the coins around to absorb the honey-sugar syrup. When all the pieces are brown and syrupy use kitchen tongs to transfer them to a parchment paper lined platter. While still warm, pierce the coins with bamboo skewers. Eat warm or allow to cool. I have no idea how long they last because my friends and I gobble them up before I can even think of storage.