Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Lotus Root Soup – Old Faithful

Lotus root has made regular appearances on my dinner table for as long as I could remember. Depending on the technique of cooking, it could be crunchy, or soft as yam, or even powdered to become a drink.  Lotus powder has such high starch content that it is even used as a thickening agent.

The lotus is a versatile food source: every part of the plant can be used for some purpose, or cooked and eaten. In my family home, lotus root is eaten in many forms – stewed, in soup, as fried fritters, as fresh juice, as a snack, and even as health food. In fact, it was even a part of a medical recovery diet for one of my relatives, who suffered from tuberculosis back in the 60s. It may just have been an old wives’ tale, but he recovered and lived to a ripe old age!

I always yearned for a hot bowl of lotus root soup when the weather turned cold. Over the years, I have also accumulated more than a dozen recipes on making a bowl of yummy lotus root soup. Here is one of them.

Lotus Root Soup

Water                          2 litres
Lotus root                   300 g, cut into chunks
Dried oysters              15 g, soaked for 30 mins
Wolfberries                 15 g
Dried red dates           10 g, soaked for 30 mins
Red beans                   20 g, soaked overnight
Pork ribs                      400 g, blanched and washed
Chicken feet                250 g, blanched and washed
Salt                              1 tbsp
Light soy sauce           ½ tbsp

  1. Place lotus root, dried oysters, wolfberries, and red beans in room-temperature water and boil.
  2. Add pork ribs and chicken feet and continue to boil vigorously for 15 minutes. Remove any scum that surfaces.
  3. Cover the pot and simmer for 2 hours.
  4. Add salt and stir until it dissolves. Taste and adjust the salt accordingly.
  5. Before serving, turn off the heat and add light soy sauce.

Note: Dried oysters may be substituted with dried octopus.


  1. I like this dish. but its hard to cook at home. hard to wash off all the mud!

  2. @FoodieFC: Just use a toothbrush to scrub off the mud or there are those already cleaned ready for cooking.

  3. I noticed red beans in the bowl and in the list of ingredients. How do the red beans add to the taste and flavouring of the soup? So far, has not come across red beans in the lotus soups I had.

    1. According to the yin/yang philosophy in food, lotus root and red beans add warmth to oneself during the colder season. The red bean also gives an extra depth in taste as well.