Kinpira is a beloved Japanese side dish, created by stir-frying and simmering root vegetables in a delectable sweet and savory sauce. Typically, these vegetables are thinly sliced or julienned, then cooked with seasonings like soy sauce, sugar, sake, and mirin.
One charming point about Kinpira is its ease of preparation. You can also store it in the fridge for a few days, making it a versatile addition to your meals, whether it's a regular dish, bento lunchbox side, or a tasty sake accompaniment.
What sets Kinpira apart is its unique texture—slightly crunchy and firm yet tender. The root vegetables retain their crispness due to the quick cooking method, while also absorbing the rich seasonings during simmering. This delightful textural contrast pairs excellently with rice.
Traditionally, carrots, lotus root (renkon), and burdock (gobo) are the mainstays in Kinpira recipes. We previously shared a recipe for Kinpira using gobo, but in this article, we'll introduce you to Kinpira Renkon.
Renkon, known as "lotus root" in English, might give the impression of being a lotus root, but it's actually an enlarged "stem" of the lotus plant. Despite this, it's referred to as "蓮(ren=lotus) 根(kon=root)" in both Japanese and English due to its root-like appearance.
The key to perfect Renkon Kinpira is a quick cooking process to preserve that delightful crunch. Enjoy the cooking process and savor the savory delight of Renkon Kinpira!
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 5 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Total servings: 4
- 200g Renkon (lotus root)
- 2 tsp Sugar
- 2 tsp Cooking Sake
- 2 tsp Mirin
- 1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
- 1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
- Sesame Seeds, as needed
- Sliced Chili Pepper, as needed
Looking to save time in the kitchen? This Mandoline slicer can swiftly create thin slices and julienne vegetables. With three different blades, this handy kitchen tool not only speeds up your prep but also delivers professional-quality results. Plus, it comes with a safety device to safeguard your fingers, despite its razor-sharp blade. You can use it to slice lotus root for Kinpira Renkon or slice other veggies for stir-fries, salads, and more.
1) Gathering the Ingredients
Gather the ingredients together.
2) Preparing & Slicing the Lotus Root
First, give the renkon a good wash. If you have a Tawashi, it's great for cleaning the surface effectively. The skin of renkon contains valuable nutrients like dietary fiber, vitamin C, and polyphenols, so it's best to skip peeling. Slice the renkon into thin 2-3mm pieces. If the renkon is particularly thick, halve it before slicing, as demonstrated in the photo.
After cutting, soak the slices in water to eliminate excess starch. Let them sit for about 10 minutes, then gently pat them dry with paper towels.
3) Cooking the Lotus Root
Place the sliced renkon into a frying pan and drizzle some sesame oil over them. Make sure to coat each slice with the sesame oil for even cooking. Heat them over medium heat, arranging them in a way that they don't overlap.
4) Adding Seasoning and Stir-Frying
After the renkon slices turn translucent and are well cooked (usually around 3 minutes of cooking), introduce the mixed seasonings, sesame seeds, and sliced chili peppers. Stir-fry them over medium to high heat until the liquid in the seasonings evaporates.
5) Serving Kinpira Renkon
Transfer the kinpira renkon to a plate, and garnish with additional sesame seeds if you'd like. Enjoy!