Kinpira Renkon– Japanese Stir Fried Lotus Root seasoned with soy sauce, mirin and sake. This flavourful side dish is perfect for meal prep and for packing in lunches!
What is Kinpira Renkon?
Kinpira Renkon is a Japanese lotus root stir fry side dish seasoned with soy sauce, mirin, sake and sesame.
The name stems from a Japanese cooking technique called “Kinpira”, which is a way of sautéing and simmering (or braising). This method of cooking is a commonly used for various root vegetable side dishes like Kinpira Gobo and Kinpira Carrots. It’s also used to cook hijiki (seaweed), konnyaku, various proteins and tofu.
The ingredients are first stir fried and then cooked down in a seasoned sauce to absorb all the flavours. At the end, sesame seeds or a spicy element like chili peppers or togarashi is added as a final touch.
What does lotus root taste like?
Lotus root has a mild, subtly sweet flavour. It’s crunchy in texture and will soften when cooked. However unlike other root vegetables like carrots, it will retain a slightly crisp texture.
Where to buy lotus root
Lotus root is in season during the fall but can be found at any Asian grocery store throughout the year. They sometimes are sold vaccume packed near the vaccume packed bamboo. Select ones that are heavy, firm, light in colour with a smooth surface and no bruises or dents.
How to Cook and Stir Fry Lotus Root
- Cut lotus root: Peel and rinse the lotus root. Cut it down the middle and slice about 4-6 mm in thickness into semi circles. If you have a large lotus root, cut into quarters and then slice into triangles. If you have a smaller lotus root, you can keep them round.
- Soak: Mix water and vinegar together. Add the lotus root and let it soak for at least 3 minutes. Soaking prevents discolouration and removes excess starch. In the mean time, de-seed the chili pepper (or keep them seeded for extra spicy) and finely chop.
- Cook: Heat sesame oil over medium heat and stir fry the lotus root. Once almost finished cooking (about 75% and starting to look more translucent), add the sake, mirin and sugar. Cook for about 2 minutes or until liquid is mostly evaporated. Add the soy sauce and fry for 1 minute, or until most of the sauce is soaked up. Lastly toss in the chili pepper and sesame seeds. Remove from burner, serve and enjoy!
How to store
Save left overs in the fridge for 3-4 days in a air tight container. Reheat in the microwave until warmed through.
Kinpira Renkon Variations + Tips
This Kinpira Renkon recipe is pretty standard throughout the different regions in Japan. There may be some slight variations, but the cooking method and ingredients stay pretty much the same. You can, however, switch things up a little with some of my suggestions below:
- Slicing the lotus root thinly will help cook the lotus root quicker. However, if you like a really crisp texture then you can slice them slightly on the thicker side.
- Include other root vegetables: carrots and burdock root are added to this dish
- Thinly sliced konnyaku for a added chewy texture
- Togarashi or more chili pepper for extra spice
- Black sesame seeds instead of white or skip them all together if you don’t like them
- The seasoning is on the stronger side because this side dish is typically eaten as a side dish. If you prefer a lighter flavour, reduce seasoning by 25%.
More quick and easy Japanese vegetable side dishes to try:
- Spinach Gomaae
- Soy Sauce Pickled Cucumbers
- Sunomono (Japanese Cucumber Salad)
- Tataki Kyuri (Japanese Smashed Cucumber Salad)
SAVE IT FOR LATER! ↓
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- 1/2 lbs lotus root (net weight about 250g)
- 2 cups water + 2 tsp vinegar (for soaking)
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil (15ml)
- 1.5 tbsp sake (22ml)
- 1.5 tbsp mirin (22ml)
- 1 1/2 tsp organic cane sugar (6g)
- 3 1/2 tsp Japanese soy sauce (17ml // tamari for gluten free)
- 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds (8g)
- 1 fresh or fried chili pepper, optional
- Peel and rinse the lotus root. Cut it in half and then thinly slice about 4-6mm thickness. Add the vinegar to the water and soak the lotus root in the vinegary water for about 3 minutes. In the mean time, de-seed and finely chop the chili pepper.
- Heat sesame oil over medium heat and stir fry the lotus root. Once almost finished cooking (about 75% and starting to look more translucent), add the sake, mirin and sugar. Cook for about 2 minutes or until liquid is mostly evaporated. Add the soy sauce and fry for 1 minute, or until most of the sauce is soaked up. Lastly toss in the chili pepper and sesame seeds. Remove from burner, serve and enjoy!
- Nutritional Information Disclaimer: Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated on an online tool (Cronometer).
- Category: side dish
- Method: stir frying
- Cuisine: vegan, gluten free, japanese
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 228
- Sugar: 6g
- Sodium: 498mg
- Fat: 9.5g
- Saturated Fat: 1.4
- Unsaturated Fat: 7.7g
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 31.1g
- Fiber: 6.5g
- Protein: 4.5g
- Cholesterol: 0
Keywords: stir fried lotus root, lotus root stir fry, kinpira renkon, japanese side dishes
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