Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Lotus That You Can Eat

The flowers, seeds, young leaves, and "roots" (rhizomes) are all edible. In Asia, the petals are sometimes used for garnish, while the large leaves are used as a wrap for food, not frequently eaten (for example, as a wrapper for zongzi). In Korea, the leaves and petals are used as a tisane. Yeonkkotcha is made with dried petals of white lotus and yeonipcha is made with the leaves. Young lotus stems are used as a salad ingredient in Vietnamese cuisine. The rhizome (called ǒu) in pinyin Chinese, ngau in Cantonese, bhe in Hindi, renkon, yeongeun in Korean is used as a vegetable in soups, deep-fried, stir-fried, and braised dishes and the roots are also used in traditional Asian herbal medicine. Petals, leaves, and rhizome can also all be eaten raw, but there is a risk of parasite transmission (e.g., Fasciolopsis buski): it is therefore recommended that they be cooked before eating.