Monday, July 11, 2011

Zaku Zaku Burger

Lotus root burger/Renkon Hamburger

DSC_0110Zaku Zaku is the sound that certain foods make when you bite into them; similar to crunchy. When I’m craving particular Japanese foods and I happen to have it in my house then I feel really lucky! The lotus root (蓮根) is not readily available at the local super market. I need to drive 25 minutes to the Japanese/Asian market to get it, not what a lazy person like me wants to do. I like tempura lotus root but when I was browsing Food Buzz’s top 9 other day, Just One Cookbook’s Fried Lotus Root with Pork made me excited. Yes! That’s what I’m going to make tonight! Then I will post it in my blog! Wait, she already done that and posted too. Duh! I need to make something of my OWN(?) from my favorite Japanese magazine “Orange Page”. Besides, I didn’t have pork.

This recipe calls for aibikiniku (合びき肉)which is a combination of ground beef and ground pork. Since I don’t have it I needed to modify the recipe slightly because it would have been too dry if I just used ground beef. I add rolled oats and some milk to moisten it.

DSC_0142Lotus roots don’t have a pronounced flavor but has great crunch and full of holes that look interesting. If someone asked me what vegetable I would be, I’d probably pick this one. At first meeting, you think I’m polite and shy but after you get to know me, I’m quite loud and not so sweet. Though I pair well with others, I’m afraid I’m not very bright and lack many skills as the holes represent. But with some seasoning and other ingredients help, lotus root can be an irresistible, unique dish. At least my husband thinks so,,, What am I talking about?

Ingredients for 4 or 6 mini hamburgers

  • Lotus roots about 9 oz. peeled and washed. Slice 4-6 rounds then mince the rest and soak in water with 2 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar for 10 minutes*. Drain, set aside.DSC_0093
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 egg scrambled
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper-white pepper preferred, to taste
  • Corn starch or katakuriko (片栗粉)-potato starch for dusting
  • 1 or more table spoon vegetable oil for pan frying
  1. In medium bowl, put rolled oats and milk. Wait few minutes for oats to moisten.
  2. Add meat, egg, salt (probably 1 teaspoon) olive oil and pepper. With clean hand, mix well.
  3. Add minced lotus roots. Mix well. Make 4-6 hamburger patties. DSC_0096
  4. Pat dry the sliced lotus roots with paper towel then dust with corn starch on one side. Put on the top of the patty with dusted side down. Press the slice into the patty.DSC_0098
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in skillet at over medium heat. Arrange the patties in a pan lotus root side down. Fry for 2 minutes.
  6. Turn heat down to low, Cover with lid and steam for 3 minutes.
  7. Turn the patties over. Cover and steam for another 4-5 minutes.

* Do not skip this process. This prevent discoloration. If you using packaged lotus roots then never mind.

I served with Ponzu sauce with grated daikon but that is optional.

DSC_0109Roses are still doing well in our back yard. We have more strawberries to pick then next is figs and blue berries are ready soon. Asian pears will be another month or so. Cold spring hampered growth of vegetables but still there is something for the blue jays and deer to eat in our garden. Birds ate all our grapes before we get that chance to pick them last year. Deer in particular like pansies. It’s quite OK but don’t leave your droppings on my porch! Sheesh! I feel somewhat sad to think that those visit are getting more rare each year though. But don’t tell that to my friends who deal with uninvited, rude creatures who visit their 20-some acres of land that they own.DSC_0156DSC_0157

A neighbor brought us a bouquet of lavender picked from her back yard yesterday. I think it has healing power (癒し). It is fragrant and so relaxing that my husband and I fall asleep on the couch watching TV.  Anyway, I’d love to visit the lavender field in Furano, Hokkaido (富良野、北海道)someday. Yeah, that’s one of my bucket list items.DSC_0163


  1. Akemi-san, this looks very delicious! It's great idea that you chopped up lotus root and added in the beef. I love how you eat with ponzu too. Your pictures are beautiful and I enjoyed reading your post. By the way, I visited Furano once, and you must visit... soooo beautiful. I love Hokkaido so much, mainly because of all the seafood and delicious meals, but the scenery is so gorgeous too!

  2. This is a great post. I like your human description of lotus root.
    Do you think it would taste similar to water chestnut in the hamburger? (I so dislike water chestnuts... so I'd have to be sure what I'm getting before I try this.)

  3. ざくざく、、なるほどレンコンが入ったらザクザクしますね!


  4. ざくざくバーガー とてもいいアイデア 今度作ってみよう!レンコンってほんと不思議な食材ですね。 切って食べるとざくざく すりおろすともちもち。 いつも 良いアイデアを 分かち合っていただきありがとう!!写真もきれい!!

  5. Nami chan, I'm so jealous that you have been to Furano already. My husband and I went to Hokkaido last year but we know lavender was not in bloom so we didn't go there. We had lots of delicious crabs! Thank you for your inspiration for this post.

  6. Mariko, I didn't know you don't like water chestnut. The texture is similar to water chestnut but lotus loot has more likeable characters? I hope you would give it chance. Love you.

  7. ちびかーちゃん、蓮根バーガーは楽しい味でしたよ。これはやはりご飯でいただく和風味です。ラベンダーのクラフト見つけたら、メールで送ってくれる?見たいです。 コメントいつも感謝してます。

  8. 千鶴子さん、コメントありがとう。あなたも蓮根好きでうれしいなあ。

  9. This is a different kind of burger and I love it. I love Japanese food and since I live in Hong Kong, I find many kinds of Japanese food here. Loved your blog and I am your new follower!

  10. Dear Purabi, Thank you for your kind comment. I have never been to Hong Kong but I find it a fascinating place. I appreciate for becoming my follower.