Stir-Fried Lotus Root

Lotus root, or renkon in Japan, is the underground stem of the lotus flower. Lotus root is starchy like a potato, but it crunchier and has a sweeter taste. This dish can be served as a main dish or a side. Try out this original recipe that features renkon which is stir fried with butter, oil, bacon, tarragon and soy sauce.

Not too long ago I was visiting some friends who were new to Japan and talking about the different Japanese vegetables they have eaten since coming.  We were discussing Japanese root vegetables like gobō and satoimo and one of my friends asked about the vegetable with “all the holes in it.”  She was talking about lotus root which is known as renkon (蓮根) in Japanese.  Renkon is a “root vegetable” commonly used in Japanese dishes.  It’s actually the engorged stem of the Lotus Flower and it grows underground.  Renkon is a rhizome like a potato.  You can eat it simmered in stews, cooked in hot pots, and added to stir-fries.  It is also deep fried to make renkon chips.

Although renkon is often served as a side dish, I wanted to put together a dish that was heartier and can be served as a main course.  Renkon is sweet and tastes amazing with soy, and the bacon and tarragon compliment the meal perfectly.  The dish is beautiful and tastes amazing.  Enjoy this one,

Stir-Fried Lotus Root (蓮根炒め)

Renkon can be found in Asian markets all year long.  It can also be purchased pre-sliced, often packed in water and already parboiled.  If you purchase it in packed in water then there is no need to parboil as it should already be softened.

Renkon usually has a thick skin and washing and peeling takes some effort.  The good news is unlike potato, renkon is relatively smooth which makes it easier to peel.

Leftovers can be refrigerated and heated back up in a frypan or a microwave oven.


10 mins 10 mins Serves 4
PREP 10 mins
COOKING 10 mins
YIELD Serves 4


  • 1 renkon, top end removed, washed and peeled (about 3/4 lb, 340g)
  • 6 slices Japanese (extra lean) smoked bacon
  • 2 tsp fresh chopped tarragon
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 2 TBSP Soy Sauce
  • 1 TBSP lightly salted butter


  • With a sharp knife, cut the renkon into 1/4 inch (1/2 cm) thick slices.

  • Parboil the renkon in salt water for three minutes.

  • While the renkon is boiling, sauté the bacon, tarragon, and onion powder in the olive oil over medium high heat in a large frypan for three minutes until the bacon is cooked through.

  • Add the butter and begin to melt.

  • Drain the renkon and add to the frypan.

  • Fry in the butter, oil and bacon, still over medium high heat, for two minutes.

  • Add the soy sauce and fry for 2-3 more minutes until the butter and soy begins to carmelize on the renkon.

  • Remove from heat, serve and enjoy.


  • For gluten free, use gluten free bacon and tamari soy sauce.

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