Sweet and Sour Lotus Root


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes about

    30 slices


Appears in

At Home with Japanese Cooking

At Home with Japanese Cooking

By Elizabeth Andoh

Published 1986

  • About

Whenever I see fresh lotus root, I buy it and make a large batch of subasu. These crisp, white, tart-yet-sweet slices add interest to so many foods. Traditionally a part of many vinegared rice dishes, they are particularly delicious tossed into a Western salad and make a decorative and flavorful garnish to grilled fish or poultry. Subasu is relatively simple to make (perhaps the hardest task is finding fresh lotus root) and will keep, if refrigerated, for several months. Neither the fresh vegetable nor the marinated one should be frozen, though. Dried lotus root is a bit easier to find but unfortunately cannot substitute in this recipe. Fresh lotus root is in season in the spring and fall, so look in your favorite Oriental market for it then.


  • 1small fresh lotus root, weighing about 6 ounces
  • cups cold water
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • ½–¾ cup amazu (Sweet and Sour Sauce)


Peel the lotus root and cut it into very thin round slices. To prevent discoloration, drop the slices immediately into a ceramic or glass bowl filled with acidulated water (made from 1 ½–2 cups cold water and 2–3 tablespoons rice vinegar). Soak the lotus root in the acidulated water for at least 5 minutes before rinsing under cold water.

In an enamel or glass saucepan combine the water and rice vinegar called for in the list of ingredients. Bring this acidulated water to a boil and cook the lotus root slices for 2–3 minutes (they will still be crisp). Drain the cooked lotus root well and marinate the slices in sweet and sour sauce to cover, in a glass or ceramic container. Marinate the slices for at least 2 hours. Before serving, drain the lotus root slices of excess sauce.

For longer storage, use a glass jar sealed with paraffin or a tight-fitting lid. Because lids sometimes rust around the rims, it is a good idea to cover the jars first with plastic wrap. Always use a clean utensil to extract slices. Be sure that there is enough sweet and sour sauce to cover what’s left (exposure to the air will cause discoloration and spoilage). Keep the jars refrigerated.