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Recipe  •  31 May 2024


Spicy Lotus Root Salad

Some restaurants in Taiwan will set out appetisers at the front entrance, and I always reach for the lotus root salad.

If you ask my friends and family what my favourite vegetable is, everyone will say lotus root! Lotus root is actually the stem of the lotus flower. It may look intimidating but it's easy to cook and super versatile. It's crunchy, absorbs flavour well, and reminds me of a less scratchy version of potatoes. The best part about this salad is that if you prep it ahead, the lotus root will continue to soak up the flavour of the sauce, so you can enjoy it throughout the week, and it tastes better every time. Lotus root also has plenty of health benefits, such as boosting digestion, regulating blood pressure, and reducing stress. 

Serves: 2


  • 55g dried wood ear mushrooms
  • 140g lotus root, peeled and cut crosswise into ⅛-inch-thick slices
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 dried Chinese red chilies
  • 1½ teaspoons red chili flakes
  • 1½ teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 1½ tablespoons Chili Oil (page 245) or your favourite brand of chili oil
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
  • 2½ tablespoons black vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1½ teaspoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • Unsalted roasted peanuts, for garnish (optional)


  1. Soak the mushrooms in a bowl of room-temperature water until softened, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain, squeeze dry, and break into bite-size pieces. Set aside.

  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil over high heat. Add the lotus root and blanch for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside. This will help the lotus root stay flavourful and crunchy.

  3. In a large heatproof bowl, combine the garlic, Chinese red chilies, red chili flakes, sesame seeds, and chili oil.

  4. In a small saucepan, heat the vegetable oil and Sichuan peppercorns over high heat for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the oil reaches 350°F / 180°C on a deep-frying thermometer. Carefully pour the hot oil over the chili mixture. (You can strain the oil into the bowl throughou a metal strainer to remove the peppercorns, if desired.) Once the oil stops bubbling, stir to combine.

  5. Pour the black vinegar, light soy sauce, and sugar into the hot oil. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.

  6. Add the lotus root, mushrooms, and cilantro to the sauce and toss. Transfer the salad to a large serving bowl. Garnish with the roasted peanuts, if desired, and serve immediately.

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Tiffy Cooks
The wildly popular blogger and TikTok sensation behind Tiffy Cooks shares 88 of her favorite easy, everyday, family-style recipes from across Asia.
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