When my mom used to cook with lotus root when I was little, I liked to play with them because they reminded me of the dials on old-school telephones. Now they just look a little creepy, like little spore monsters. れんこんの挟み焼き(Renkon-no-hasamiyaki) is a popular and healthy Japanese dish, combining the crunchy texture of the lotus root with a meat filling.
Ground chicken, about 1lb
A dash of salt, sake, and ground ginger to season the chicken
Lotus root, 1 medium-sized section
Season ground chicken with whatever you like (I used sake, salt, ground ginger) and mix well.
Peel lotus root and cut into 1/4 inch thin slices. Soak for a few minutes in water + a dash of vinegar, then drain.
Dust one side of the lotus root slices with cornstarch. This cornstarch acts to bind the chicken to the lotus root, so assemble the sandwich by using cornstarch dusted sides on the “insides” of the sandwich (think of it as the mayo of the sandwich). Spoon some chicken onto a lotus slice, then press another slice down gently on top, so that some of the chicken “oozes” a bit into the holes. (This picture below looks like the corn starch side is on the outside, but it’s not – it just got messy from the extra cornstarch).
Heat a pan with some oil and cook the sandwiches with the lid on until the meat is done, then lift the lid and finish frying until both sides are golden. I coated mine in teriyaki sauce at the end, but you can enjoy it as is, dipped in ponzu sauce, kochujang, or whatever. Variations: ground pork works well too, or you could coat the whole sandwich in cornstarch and deep-fry.