Lotus stem is one of my favorite vegetables, almost always found in my fridge. Lovely texture, good looks and great taste.Takes on any flavors really well. I am hooked to the Chinese style stir fries with lotus stem and soy-honey glaze and toss up a large bowl of it every time I feel like. And if I am cooking for some guests I would add on some precooked chicken breast pieces or cocktail chicken sausages.
It makes a nice finger snack also. Something you would love eating when chatting with friends or with drinks. The kind of finger food you keep reaching for mindlessly while talking and is still a healthy choice. Use boneless chicken with it to make it healthier as the sausages bring in a few undesired chemical load with them. It's okay if it is occasional though.
Last month I made a huge quantity of this stir fry salad for a picnic we had on a sunny Sunday. It was loved by all and the lotus stems were loved more than the sausages. I know most people love sausages more, that too when they are slow cooked with a soy-honey glaze, but they are quite predictable with the uniform texture and taste they have. You know what I mean. The bite in a slice of a vegetable like lotus stem is something else, the way it absorbs the flavors is different from almost impermeable chicken sausages. Having said that, the sausages were also great and were loved by all.
No partiality :-)
(serves more than a dozen people as a salad or finger food)
lotus stem, peeled, cleaned and sliced in a slanted manner 500 gm
cocktail chicken sausages 800 gm (cut into two halves in a slanting manner)
(the ratio of lotus stem and sausages can be as much as you like)
whole dry red chilies broken 4-5 or as much hot you want
ginger thin julienne 2-3 tbsp
chopped garlic 1 tbsp
olive oil or sesame oil 1 tbsp + 1 tbsp
dark soy sauce 1 tbsp or more to taste
honey 1.5 tbsp or to taste
salt to taste (be careful as soy sauce already has salt)
fresh red chilies julienne for garnish (optional)
Heat 1 tbsp of the oil and tip in half of the the dry red chilies broken or whole, broken chilies will infuse more heat into the oil so keep that in mind. Tip in half of the ginger julienne and chopped garlic too and then add the sliced lotus stems and a little salt. Stir fry on low flame for about 5 minutes or till cooked well. Empty the contents of the pan into a bowl.
Heat the remaining oil and repeat the same procedure for the sausages as well. Stir frying them for about 2-3 minutes as they do not need cooking but a little searing. Add the cooked lotus stems, the soy sauce and the honey and keep turning the contents of the pan every 30 seconds or so. The resultant sauce will be very thin first, then it will start reducing and coating the lotus stem slices and cut sausages well. Stop cooking once it starts looking nicely glazed.
Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with freshly cut red chilly julienne.
One thing to keep in mind while cooking this, is the quantity you are stir frying. If you are cooking as much as this recipe, you would need to stir fry the lotus stems and sausages separately as it allows them both to soak in the flavors better while they dehydrate and cook slowly. If cooking for 2-4 people you can always cook the lotus stem slices first for a while and then ass the sausages and stir fry on low flame for some more time. Cooking till the sauce forms a glaze.
This picture below is of the same dish I cooked in a smaller quantity, and both the things together. I did not add a fresh red chilly garnish and the glaze was also lesser, you can always adjust the amount of glaze, sweetness of honey etc as per choice.
I like those wiry bits of ginger in the final dish too. Add more if you love the sharp ginger pieces doused with honey and soy.
Another garnish that I love on this stir fry salad is toasted sesame seeds. This dish is actually quite versatile and packed with flavors. The sausages and lotus stem provide a contrast of textures too.
This would be one of those much in demand stir fry salads in your home I am sure. I can tell you because I have fed it to many people and have found them all reaching out for this one many a times during an engaging conversation.
Yes, I watch what you eat when you are with me :-) I really do.
Let me know when you cook this one. I am expecting some happy tunes....