When I was working for Michelin-starred restaurants in New York City, I used to slice and deep fry lotus roots to be used as garnishes. Whenever I made these I couldn’t stop thinking about the salty and sweet soy sauce braised lotus root banchan in Korea.
There are two ways that you can make yeongeun jorim (연근 조림, soy sauce-braised lotus root). For stronger and sweeter yeongeun, you can braise it with more sweetening agents for a longer time. Most restaurants serve lotus root this way. My preference is to retain the natural crunchiness of the root so my braising technique is much shorter and uses a less aggressive seasoning. For more information about lotus root (including tips for choosing and storing), check out our yeongeun post!
A good amount of water
A dash of vinegar
2 medium lotus roots, about 400g total
2 ⅓ tbsp Joseon ganjang (original soy sauce)
1 tbsp cheongju (rice wine)
1 tbsp maesil cheong (plum syrup)
2 tbsp jocheong (rice syrup)
⅓ tsp sesame oil
2 to 3 pinches of roasted sesame seed
1. Peel the lotus roots and slice them into 3mm pieces.
2. Meanwhile, add a dash of vinegar (to prevent discoloration) to a pot with a good amount of water, enough to cover the lotus roots. Bring it to a boil and blanch the lotus root slices until they become slightly translucent and less bright white. It takes about 2 to 3 minutes, but cooking slightly longer or less doesn’t kill this dish, so focus on the color. The main purpose of blanching is to get rid of the starch.
3. Drain the blanched lotus root, shock in cold water and place back into the empty pot (or use a wok if you have it). Add the water, ganjang, cheongju, plum syrup and rice syrup to the lotus and bring it to a boil.
4. Braise on a medium heat until the sauce is reduced by two-thirds, then cook on high heat until the sauce is almost completely absorbed.
5. Add the sesame oil and roasted sesame seed powder, mix well and serve.
Serve as a banchan hot or at room temperature. This recipe serves four, but it also keeps well for several days in the fridge.