Salty-sweet. Crunchy. Nutty. Fragrant. Korean Braised Lotus Root is the side dish (banchan) of your dreams.
Any Korean food lover will tell you, the real gems at the Korean table are the vegetables.
Yes, Koreans eat vegetables. And plenty of them! Korean Braised Lotus Root, is especially good.
What is Korean Braised Lotus Root?
Korean Braised Lotus Root is a side dish or banchan made from the bulb of water lily plants.
The Korean preparation requires slicing and braising lotus roots in a mixture of soy sauce and corn syrup. The braising process allows the neutral-flavored lotus roots to absorb deep flavor. The final result is a beautiful dish that sparkles with a shiny patina and an addictive, salty-sweet flavor.
Braised Lotus Roots are crispy and crunchy. They are also very filling and satisfying, and incredibly delicious.
Braised Lotus Root is also one of the prettiest side dishes. They look like shiny, flower-like jewels, and are almost too pretty to eat!
Also known as Yeongeun Jorim, it’s a side that’s vegan and completely plant-based. I don’t even want to eat meat when this is on the table! One of my favorite vegetable side dishes, for sure.
- Lotus Root. The edible, bulbous stems of Lotus plants. Lotus roots are nutritious, hearty, and filling.
- Vinegar. Removes the bitter/astringent flavor of lotus root.
- Soy Sauce. Do not use low-sodium soy sauce! The flavor will not be the same.
- Brown Sugar. Adds deep, caramel-y sweetness.
- Mirin. Japanese/Korean cooking wine.
- Corn Syrup. To create that shiny, sticky glaze at the end. I’ve tried subbing with honey, agave, and sugar but the final texture is not the same. Korean corn syrup is clear (called “mul-yeot”) but any light corn syrup works.
- Sesame Oil. A drizzle at the end adds so much nutty fragrance and flavor.
- Sesame Seeds. The pretty garnish adds a nutty crunch.
- Boil with vinegar. An essential step to remove the bitter/astringent flavor of lotus root. Cover lotus roots with water and 1 Tbsp vinegar. Boil for 5 minutes. Drain.
- Braise in liquid. Add drained Lotus Root back to the pan. Add soy sauce, brown sugar, Mirin, and water. Bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring with a silicone spatula from time to time.
- Reduce until dark + syrupy. Add corn syrup. Watch the liquid carefully as it evaporates. Cook until dark, saucy, and syrupy.
- Garnish and serve. Drizzle with sesame oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Enjoy cold or room temperature!
- Watch carefully. At the end, the liquid will evaporate quickly. Make sure it doesn’t burn.
- Spoon braising liquid over the lotus roots. Scrape all that delicious braising liquid in the bottom of the pan on top of the lotus roots while cooking.
- Serve with rice. The salty-sweet flavor may be overwhelming on its own. Serve with rice to best enjoy the flavor!
- Use a non-stick skillet. For easy cleanup. The glazy sauce can be quite sticky and difficult to clean up.
Where can I buy Lotus Root?
Most Asian grocery stores carry Lotus Root in the PRODUCE section. You can find them 1) pre-sliced and lightly blanched (in a plastic vacuum sealed package) or 2) completely raw (round and bulbous with a brown/beige skin).
To make things easier, I buy pre-sliced Lotus Root. It’s already peeled and sliced into even rounds. But you can certainly buy Lotus Root that’s not been altered, then peel and slice it at home yourself.
What are Lotus Roots?
Lotus Roots are the edible stems of the Lotus plant. They are crunchy, mildly flavored, and filled with fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. Much loved by vegetable enthusiasts, Lotus Roots are hearty, filling, and satisfying!
Lotus Roots taste good steamed, deep fried, stir-fried, and braised. They are versatile and absorb flavor well, similar to tofu. They taste good in both sweet or savory preparations.
Other Korean side dishes you may enjoy:
- Soy Sauce Quail Eggs
- Air Fryer Panko Tofu
- Braised Tofu (Dubu Jorim)
- Steamed Egg (Gyeran Jjim)
- Korean Potato Salad (Gamja Salad)
Or serve with rice and meaty mains:
Korean Braised Lotus Root
- non-stick pan
- 1 package pre-peeled, pre-sliced Lotus Root
- 4 cups water
- 1 Tbsp vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup soy sauce (do not use low sodium soy sauce!)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup Mirin
- 1/4 cup corn syrup (any kind works)
- drizzle sesame oil
- sprinkle sesame seeds
- Rinse pre-sliced, pre-peeled Lotus Root with cold water and drain. Place in a non-stick pan and cover with 4 cups water and 1 Tbsp vinegar. Boil for 5 minutes. Drain.
- Add Lotus Root back to the non-stick pan. Add Lotus Root back to the pan. Add soy sauce, brown sugar, corn syrup, Mirin, and water. Bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes, until lotus root is dark brown in color and slightly crispy. If you like it softer, cook for an additional 5-10 minutes. Stir with a silicone spatula from time to time.
- Add corn syrup and mix with a spatula. Keep cooking but watch carefully as it evaporates, stirring often. Cook until dark, saucy, and syrupy. The corn syrup will create a shiny, sticky coating. Make sure to stir liquid from the bottom of the pot so the liquid doesn't burn.
- Garnish with sesame oil and sesame seeds. Enjoy cold or room temperature!