Sautéed Lotus Roots and Chicken with Pickled Plum and Bonito Flakes is a quick side dish that has sweet, sour, and salty flavours, and is full of umami. The crunchiness of the lotus root is also enjoyable. The juicy plump chicken, the refreshing sourness of pickled plum, and the bonito flakes go so well together with the lotus root.
Sautéed Lotus Roots and Chicken with Pickled Plum and Bonito Flakes is a perfect side dish to go with rice. It is also a great dish for a bento box. You can make it in just 15 minutes.
You may not be familiar with pickled plum, ‘umeboshi’ (梅干し), but there are quite a few dishes using it. I have posted 5 dishes so far – Daikon Salad with Pickled Plum Dressing, Stuffed Sardines, Hinomaru Bento, Crispy Baked Spring Roll Sticks, and Ume Chazuke. I must admit Hinomaru Bento is not really a recipe as I simply placed a tiny umeboshi in the middle of cooked rice.
When you use umeboshi moderately with other ingredients that go well with it, you will get a unique refreshing flavour that becomes addictive. I like the sour flavour, so I can eat today’s dish all by myself. I also enjoy it as a nibble to go with my gin & tonic.
What’s in My Sautéed Lotus Roots and Chicken with Pickled Plum and Bonito Flakes
I only used chicken and lotus roots as main ingredients with a green garnish on top, but you can add a green vegetable such as snow peas or green beans and cook together to brighten the colour of the dish if you want.
- Lotus root, cut into bite-size pieces
- Chicken thigh fillets, cut into bite-size pieces
- Chopped perilla leaves or microgreens for garnish (optional).
I cut the lotus root into a kind of tetrahedral shape because the shape looks interesting. My lotus root was about 6-7cm/2⅜-2¾” in diameter, so I quartered the root lengthwise, then cut each stick diagonally, alternating the angle by 90 degrees to the opposite direction so that I could make triangle shapes. The length of each side of the triangle was about 3-3.5cm/1⅛-1⅜”.
If your root is much fatter, you may want to cut the root into 6 or even 8 long sticks first. You can of course slice each stick into about 1.5-2cm/⅝-¾” thick pieces instead of cutting it diagonally. The important thing is that the lotus root pieces are all similar sizes.
Perilla goes extremely well with umeboshi. But if you can’t find perilla leaves, scattering microgreens works well too.
- Sesame oil
- Cooking sake
- Soy sauce
- Umeboshi (salty pickled plum), deseeded and chopped into paste
- Bonito flakes
- Salt to adjust flavour (not in the ingredients photo)
You only need a couple of umeboshi. My umeboshi was mid-size of about 2.5cm/1” in diameter, so I used 2 of them. If your umeboshi is larger, 1 umeboshi should be sufficient. You need to use soft umeboshi because the flesh has to be made into paste.
You can replace sesame oil with normal oil, if you prefer.
How to cook Sautéed Lotus Roots and Chicken with Pickled Plum and Bonito Flakes
- Heat oil in a frying pan and sauté chicken pieces.
- Add the lotus root pieces and sauté until the lotus roots are cooked through. Stir the ingredients from time to time because the lotus root pieces tend to stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Add mirin, sake, and soy sauce to the pan and mix quickly.
- Add umeboshi and bonito flakes to the pan and mix well.
- Transfer to a large plate or individual bowls. Top with garnish if using.
Depending on the size of your lotus root pieces, the time taken to cook them through varies. I like the crunchiness of the lotus roots in the dish, so I almost undercook them.
The time to cook the ingredients after adding the Flavouring is less than a minute. So, you need to make sure that lotus roots are cooked through before adding the Flavouring ingredients. The chicken pieces should cook faster than lotus roots.
If you want to speed up the cooking process of the lotus roots, you can put a lid on when you are not stirring the ingredients.
Sautéed Lotus Roots and Chicken with Pickled Plum and Bonito Flakes is a perfect dish when you just want one more dish to complete your meal. It keeps 3-4 days in the fridge.
Sautéed Lotus Roots and Chicken with Pickled Plum and Bonito Flakes is a quick side dish that has sweet, sour, and salty flavours, and is full of umami. The crunchiness of lotus roots is also enjoyable. The juicy plump chicken, the refreshing sourness of pickled plum, and the bonito flakes go so well together with the lotus root.
Don't forget to see the section 'MEAL IDEAS' below the recipe card! It gives you a list of dishes that I have already posted and this recipe that can make up a complete meal. I hope it is of help to you.
- 250g/0.6lb chicken thigh fillet (note 1)
- 250g/0.6lb lotus roots peeled (note 2)
- Microgreens or chopped perilla leaves for garnish (optional)
Cut the chicken fillet into bite-size pieces.
Quarter the lotus root lengthwise (note 5), then diagonally cut each stick rotating the angle of the knife by 90 degrees to the opposite direction alternatively so that the lotus root pieces will be cut into tetrahedral shape (note 6).
As you cut lotus root pieces, put them in the bowl filled with water. This will prevent discolouration of the lotus roots due to the oxidisation.
Mince the umeboshi flesh, then make a paste using the side of your knife by sliding the knife on the umeboshi.
Heat sesame oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
Put the chicken pieces to the pan and sauté for a few minutes until the surface of the chicken becomes whitish.
Drain the lotus root pieces well and add to the pan.
Sauté for about 8 minutes until the lotus roots have just cooked through.
Reduce the heat to low, and add mirin, cooking sake, and soy sauce to the pan. Mix quickly.
Add umeboshi paste and bonito flakes to the pan and mix well ensuring that the plum paste and bonito flakes are mixed evenly. Taste test and adjust with salt if required.
Transfer to a large bowl to share or serve as an individual side dish, topped with the garnish.
1. My thigh fillet came with no skin. You can use it with skin on as well.
2. Fresh lotus roots are sold at Asian grocery stores or Asian vegetable shops, if not sold at supermarkets.
If you cannot find fresh lotus roots, you can use frozen ones. But they will not be a crunchy as the fresh lotus roots.
If you can get large frozen lotus root pieces, that would be the best. Very thinly sliced lotus roots are not suited for this recipe.
3. Sesame oil give a nutty flavour to the dish. But if you don’t have it, you can use neutral oil with very little or no flavour.
4. My umeboshi was about 2.5cm/1” in diameter and weighed 20g/0.7oz before removing seeds. After the seeds were removed, it weighed 13g/0.5oz.
If your umeboshi is larger, you may need only 1 umeboshi. Hard umeboshi is not suited for this recipe because you need to make paste with the umeboshi.
5. The thickness of my lotus root was about 6-7cm/2⅜-2¾” in diameter. If your root is thicker, cut it into 6 or even 8 to make thin sticks.
6. See the photo in the post. The length of each side of the tetrahedral shape was about 3-3.5cm/1⅛-1⅜”.
7. Sautéed Lotus Roots and Chicken with Pickled Plum and Bonito Flakes keeps 3-4 days in the fridge. It is a perfect dish for a bento box.
8. Nutrition per serving.
serving: 140g calories: 183kcal fat: 9.2g (12%) saturated fat: 2.5g (13%) trans fat: 0.1g polyunsaturated fat: 2g monounsaturated fat: 3.9g cholesterol: 60mg (20%) sodium: 381mg (17%) carbohydrates: 12g (4%) dietary fibre: 2g (7%) sugar: 2.2g protein: 12g vitamin D: 0.1mcg (1%) calcium: 25mg (2%) iron: 1.1mg ( 6%) potassium: 379mg (8%)