For the “something new” challenge I went to one of my favorite places to find new eats: United Noodle. I love this grocery store! I went to the produce section and grabbed the first two things I had never seen before. These ended up being:
I was hoping I would get lucky and simply by happenstance grab some in-season produce, but this was not the case. Both Chinese Okra and Lotus Root are fall vegetables (but given our current weather, maybe they would be doing just fine about now). Since I had no idea what these things were I turned to the internet. From what I have gathered, Chinese Okra is somewhere between a cucumber and okra. It is also known as luffa and when dried out can be used as a scrubbing sponge! The Lotus Root is more potato like, but crisper and a bit more starchy.
Dish #1: Breakfast
This was a pretty simple dish, but I can’t say I would recommend it. I sauteed the peeled and sliced Chinese Okra with garlic. I then made some quick scrambled eggs and steamed them together for a couple minutes.
It came out okay, and watching the scrambled eggs get all inflated during the steaming process was fun, but the flavor was weak and the eggs just tasted… soggy. Maybe with a bit of spice this would be better.
Based on this Chinese Okra and Egg Stir Fry.
Dish #2: State Fair Approved!
This one definitely missed the “for wellness” mark, but just sounded too good to pass up. I had some spicy pulled pork in the good ol’ deep freeze, which made the process go much quicker (I love when past-me is generous and does extra work so that I don’t have to do it now).
The frying was rough going at first since the lotus root slices hold water pretty well, preventing the thin beer
batter from sticking. A quick flour bath did the trick, as did letting them fry a bit longer. I actually double fried the first ones since the first go round went so poorly. It was a lot of work but the results were delicious! Don’t be surprised if you see my Deep Fried Lotus Root Sandwich stand at the Fair this year!
Based on this Stuffed Lotus Root with Pork.
Dish #3: By Your Powers Combined!
I couldn’t find any recipes that included both Chinese Okra and Lotus Root, so I just added the Chinese Okra to this Curry. I actually didn’t add enough either. It cooked down so much that it kind of got lost.
The curry flavor was really good and the Lotus Root adds a nice crunch, but not much else in terms of flavor. I added some lemon juice to brighten it up, which helped some. My real failing was using canned tomato sauce. Such a mistake. It would have been fine if I just added a bit less or even used a can of diced tomatoes instead. Even though the flavors were all good, I couldn’t stop tasting just a hint of spaghetti-o’s.
Based on this Lotus Root Curry with Gravy