Friday, February 09, 2007

Lotus Root with Sausage and Spinach

Copyright 2007 by Cooking With The Single Guy

1 lb. fresh lotus root (about two large stalks), peeled and cut into slices
1 Kielbasa sausage, diced (or other pork sausage)
2 T wet bean curd (red or white, or a combination of both) *
1 cup fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1 cup water
1 T canola oil
pinch of salt

In a large saucepan, warm the oil over medium high heat. Add the cubes of wet bean curd and smash them until you get a thick paste. Toss in the lotus root pieces and stir to spread the bean curd paste all over. Add water and sausage and reduce heat to a simmer.

Continue simmering covered for about 1 hour until the lotus root is fork tender. Check periodically to make sure your pot doesn’t dry out, and occasionally stir to make sure the lotus root pieces cook evenly. Add a bit more water if needed. When the lotus root is done, add the spinach and let it cook for another minute until they’re wilted. Add salt for taste.
Makes 3 to 4 servings. Serve with steamed rice.

Pair with a glass of Chardonnay.

* Also known as fermented bean curd

TIP: When shopping for lotus root, look for ones with a pale color. Don’t pick those that are darker or have black markings. They should look fresh and bright. To clean them, use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin and cut around the joints. (Avoid the joints between each tube; discard them when slicing your lotus root.) Lotus root has a stringiness that looks like spider webs when cutting into them. This will be less apparent the longer you cook it, but you really can’t avoid it all the time.

WHAT’S THE CURD?: Wet bean curd is one of the essential ingredients for this dish. It has a distinctive taste that, for some, may be an acquired taste. It’s sold in Asian grocery stores in jars. You’ll see small cubes of tofu sitting in liquid. It typically comes in a version with a cloudy liquid and chili, and another version in a dark red liquid. The red wet bean curd has a deeper taste. I like to use a combination of both when making this dish. (Keep in mind that when you use the red wet bean curd, it’ll also affect the overall coloring of your lotus root, giving it almost a pinkish look.)

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