Amazu Renkon (Sweet Vinegared Lotus Root)
As I was preparing to make chirashi for our Hinamatsuri (Japanese Girl’s Day is March 3rd) party over the weekend, I remembered that I liked the amazu renkon, or sweet pickled lotus root, as a topping for chirashi, but I couldn’t find it in my recipe index.
Of course, it was logically embedded in last year’s 2011 Hinamatsuri chirashi post, but I decided amazu renkon needed a recipe post all on it’s own, and I share this with you today, together with my 2012 Hinamatsuri Sushi Doll post.
The inside of the renkon or lotus root has a beautiful decorative pattern which makes it ideal as a decorative and delicious chirashi sushi topping.
For this dish, I purchased fresh renkon because my Mom only uses fresh renkon. It can also be found pre-cooked and pre-sliced and packed in water; however, my Mom says, “fresh is best” in her Japanese accent, so of course I bought fresh renkon for our special occasion chirashi sushi. Fresh renkon (lotus root) is available in the refrigerated produce section of most Japanese supermarkets, and can also be found at other asian groceries.
Fresh renkon (lotus root) is available in the refrigerated produce section…
The inside of the renkon or lotus root has a beautiful decorative pattern. It’s ideal for dressing-up many Japanese dishes.
Raw renkon slices…
Soaking sliced renkon in a vinegar and water mixture removes impurities…
I had several slices of leftover amazu renkon and happily snacked on these vinegary renkon and also enjoyed them as a side dish. I must warn you that these are quite tart, and more sour than sweet, so if snacking on them isn’t for you, I definitely recommend throwing them all into your chirashi sushi. It’s tartness compliments the sushi quite well.
- 1 piece fresh renkon (lotus root); Note: also sold pre-sliced and packed in water but fresh is best
- ⅓ + ½ cup rice vinegar
- ⅓ + ½ cup dashi
- 3½ tablespoons sugar
- dash of salt
- Water & 1 tablespoon rice vinegar for “aku nuki” or removing bitterness and residue from the reckon
- Using a vegetable peeler, remove the skin of the renkon and cut-off both ends of the renkon. The ends will be dry and thick. Similar to a potato, the renkon will have what look like “eyes” which must be removed. They resemble dark or discolored patches. Slice the renkon lengthwise in half, then thinly slice horizontally.
- Raw renkon (lotus root) slices.
- Soak uncooked renkon slices in a bowl of cold water and 1 tablespoon rice vinegar for 10 minutes.
- This process is called, aku-nuki in Japanese, where any unwanted residue or bitter flavor from the renkon is drawn-out in the vinegar-water solution. Drain the renkon.
- In a small glass bowl, prepare the amazu marinade by combining the dashi, rice vinegar, sugar and a dash of salt and gently stirring with chopsticks. Set this aside.
- Next, in a small sauce pan, boil water and add the drained renkon and blanch for 2 minutes. Transfer the blanched renkonAdd the drained renkon to this ama-zu marinade. After the renkon cools, transfered to a plastic storage container and store in the fridge.