Lotus root burger/Renkon Hamburger
Zaku 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.
Lotus 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.
- 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
- In medium bowl, put rolled oats and milk. Wait few minutes for oats to moisten.
- Add meat, egg, salt (probably 1 teaspoon) olive oil and pepper. With clean hand, mix well.
- Add minced lotus roots. Mix well. Make 4-6 hamburger patties.
- 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.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in skillet at over medium heat. Arrange the patties in a pan lotus root side down. Fry for 2 minutes.
- Turn heat down to low, Cover with lid and steam for 3 minutes.
- 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.
Roses 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.
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.