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Stir fried lotus root, carrot, snow peas and wood ear mushrooms are tossed in a light savory sauce with a lot of garlic and ginger. It’s a dish that celebrates the spring. It’s super quick and easy to put together, making it the perfect side dish for your dinner. {Vegan, Gluten-Free Adaptable}

Cantonese lotus pond stir fry

Nothing is more appropriate for celebrating springtime than lotus root stir fry, a famous Cantonese dish that uses lotus root along with several colorful vegetables to create a light vegetable dish that’s full of color and amazing textures. The Chinese name of lotus root stir fry is He Tang Xiao Chao, which can be translated literally as lotus pond stir fry. Traditionally the dish is made from several vegetables that grow in the mud, such as lotus and yam. When in season, some Chinese restaurants serve this dish on a piece of lotus leaf layered on a serving dish, further enhancing the fragrance. 

Stir fried lotus root with carrot, wood ear mushroom, and snow peas

Ingredients

There are many ways to put a lotus root stir fry together. One of the most common and popular ways includes lotus root, snow peas, carrot and wood ear mushrooms. Other vegetables such as peppers, celtuce, yam, and lily flower pedals are often used as well. In my recipe, I tried to use minimal ingredients that yield the best texture. But do feel free to replace them with other vegetables you have on hand.

Lotus root

You can usually find lotus root at Asian markets such as Chinese and Japanese markets. I usually purchase the sliced and blanched lotus root in a bag submerged in water. You can find them in the refrigerated produce section. You can also use fresh whole lotus root for this recipe. If using the fresh one you will need to wash it thoroughly, peel it with a peeler, then thinly slice it. When cooking with fresh lotus root, you also need to blanch / steam it for a longer time. So in step 3, add the lotus root first and steam it for 2 minutes before adding the carrot. 

Wood ear mushrooms

Wood ear mushrooms (Mu’er, 木耳) are your best friend when it comes to adding texture to a dish. They are usually sold in the dried form and you will need to rehydrate them before using. Once rehydrated and cooked, they have a tender texture with a very mild earthy taste. They don’t add much flavor to a dish and will taste like whatever sauce they’re cooked in. The great part is, because of its uneven surface, they grab onto sauce well and pair very well with crisp vegetables.

You can purchase them on Amazon or at many Asian markets.

Seasoning

Traditionally, lotus root stir fry is made with very simple seasonings – garlic, ginger and chicken bouillon or condensed chicken broth are used along with salt to bring the dish together. To make this dish enjoyable by people who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, I tried using mushroom powder and the result was great. 

Traditionally this dish does not use any soy sauce, to keep the lotus root color bright and white. I tried that traditional method but found the result a bit lacking. That’s why I used just a touch of soy sauce in the recipe, to enhance the umami. It makes the lotus root a bit yellow, but I liked the flavor much better.

Mise en place

When you’re ready to cook, your table should have: 

  • Lotus root, rehydrated wood ear mushrooms, and carrots on a plate
  • Snow peas
  • Sauce
  • Salt
  • Sesame oil
  • Ginger and garlic on a plate

How to cook lotus root stir fry

Cooking lotus root stir fry is super easy.

  1. Steam the hard vegetables with water in your frying pan
  2. Saute the aromatics
  3. Add the snow peas and gently cook
  4. Add back the hard vegetables
  5. Mix in the sauce 
  6. Finish up with a drizzle of sesame oil and salt

That’s it!

Traditionally, the vegetables would be blanched in a pot of water until al dente, according to their texture and cooking time. I found that process a bit redundant, so I steamed the vegetables in the pan instead. 

Cooking lotus root stir fry step-by-step

How to serve lotus root stir fry

Serve lotus root on the side of your main dish with rice to make a full meal! 

  • Soy Sauce Pan Fried Noodles (广式豉油皇炒面)
  • Easy Salt Baked Chicken (简易盐焗鸡)
  • Beef and Chinese Broccoli (芥蓝牛肉)
  • Tofu Lettuce Wraps
  • XO Fried Rice with Char Siu
Cantonese Lotus Root Stir Fry (荷塘小炒, He Tang Xiao Chao)

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Stir fried lotus root, carrot, snow peas and wood ear mushrooms are tossed in a light savory sauce with a lot of garlic and ginger. It’s a dish that celebrates the spring. It’s super quick and easy to put together, making it the perfect side dish for your dinner. {Vegan, Gluten-Free Adaptable}

Cantonese Lotus Root Stir Fry (荷塘小炒, He Tang Xiao Chao)

Stir fried lotus root, carrot, snow peas and wood ear mushrooms are tossed in a light savory sauce with a lot of garlic and ginger. It’s a dish that celebrates the spring. It’s super quick and easy to put together, making it the perfect side dish for your dinner. {Vegan, Gluten-Free Adaptable}

To make this dish gluten-free, use tamari instead of soy sauce.

Author: Maggie Zhu

Course: Side

Cuisine: Chinese

Keyword: home style

Prep Time: 18 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Total Time: 26 minutes

Ingredients

Stir Fry

  • 2 cups lotus root , sliced (*or 1 small fresh lotus root) (*Footnote 1)
  • 1 small carrot , sliced
  • 1/2 cup snow peas
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 3 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Instructions

  • Soak the mushrooms: Add the dried wood ear mushrooms into a small bowl and add 1 cup hot water to cover. Soak for 15 to 20 minutes, until the mushrooms are soft throughout. Drain well. Remove any tough ends if needed, then cut into bite-sized pieces.

  • Mix the sauce: Combine the mushroom powder, cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Stir to mix well.

  • Make the stir fry: Add 1/4 cup water to a large skillet. Heat over medium-high heat until boiling. Add the lotus root and carrot. Cover the pan and steam for 1 minute. Then add the snow peas and soaked wood ear mushrooms. Stir a few times. Cover and steam for another 20 seconds. Once done, transfer all the vegetables to a big plate. Wipe the pan with paper towels to remove any water.

  • Heat the oil in the same pan over medium-high heat until hot. Add the garlic and ginger. Stir a few times to release the fragrance.

  • Add back all the vegetables. Stir a few times to coat the vegetables with oil. Sprinkle the salt. Stir and cook until the vegetables have softened but are still crisp, 1 to 2 minutes.

  • Stir the sauce again to fully dissolve the cornstarch, and pour it into the pan. Immediately stir to mix well, until the sauce thickens. Transfer everything to a large serving plate.

  • Serve hot as a side dish.

Notes

  1. If using fresh lotus root, wash it thoroughly, peel off the skin with a peeler, then thinly slice it. When cooking with fresh lotus root, you also need to blanch / steam it for a longer time. So in step 3, add the lotus root first and steam it for 2 minutes before adding the carrot.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1 serving , Calories: 130 kcal , Carbohydrates: 14.9 g , Protein: 2.2 g , Fat: 7.5 g , Saturated Fat: 1.3 g , Sodium: 267 mg , Potassium: 355 mg , Fiber: 3 g , Sugar: 1.9 g , Calcium: 35 mg , Iron: 1 mg