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Lotus Powder: am I the only one who eats this?

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  • nooodles Jul 13, 2005 11:59 AM
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I've eaten a LOT of lotus root powder in my life. It never seemed exotic to me. My BF had never heard of it, despite also being from Taiwan. I Googled it and found nothing. None of my friends have ever eaten it.

Where did my family find this stuff? Is it really only eaten by people in Central Taiwan? That's a really, really, REALLY small geographic area! Anyone heard of, or even eaten, this? And if you have, is there any other way of cooking it? I was debating to post this here or on General Topics, but I'm really after a new way to cook it so it goes here.

To describe: it comes in flakes roughtly the size of sugar in the raw. It's color is pink/cream, like the inside of a raw lotus root.

To prepare, you first mash a spoonful of the powder in cold water to make a paste, then quickly stir while pouring in a cupful of boiling water. As you stir, the opaque powder becomes a transparent gel. The desired result is a bowl of light brown translucent jelly, which you eat with sugar either hot or cold. If you mess up this step, you end up with a white, sticky inedible mess that's powdery in the middle. I would liken it to eating a spoonful of uncooked boba (tapioca balls).

The flavor is slightly herbaceous, like Chinese medicine. That's why you add sugar. The texture is like slightly melted, mashed up Jell-O. You can make it extra thick and it will cool into a solid pudding, or you can make it very thin and sip it slowly.

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  1. You're not alone. I remember having lotus powder before. Haven't had it for a long while though.

    2 Replies
    1. re: anna

      I'm curious: where did you eat this? I have never seen it served or sold in the US. Thanks for responding!

      1. re: nooodles

        It's been a while.....I'm pretty sure I've had it in Hong Kong. As for here, well, I thought we might have gotten some from Chinese markets. But my family goes to Hong Kong often and tends to bring lots of food items back, so what I've had here might not have been purchased in the US. I'll take a look next time I'm at a Chinese market and see if I can find some. Will keep you posted.

    2. I had it at West Lake in China. The West Lake is known for its lotus flowers; hence, the lotus root powder/paste to them is like Dungenese Crab to SF and lobster to Maine. The powder was mixed with some dried flowers that are typical with Shanghai cusine (but I don't know the English name). The flowers were a little salty while the powder is served lightly sweetened.

      I also remember my mom bringing back the powder when she went to China but I'm not sure which region she the powder from since she's never been to the Shanghai area.

      1. Came across this 7-year-old thread while searching for lotus root recipes, so I thought why not bump it -- since interesting, obscure food items are the stuff of Chowhound. In case anyone is curious, nooodles's description of this powder is right on. I've a bag of it in the fridge right now. It's sold in Chinese groceries, in large bags of individual packets, in sections where you'd also find sweetened mixes for hot beverages in flavors like sesame, peanut, and ginger. This stuff is supposed to have some sort of health benefit, though I've forgotten what....

        1. Answer to your question (7 years later): pretty much.

          1. I used to buy it from a street food auntie in Xi'an in the 90s. She'd sprinkle it with colored sugar lumps (or some soluble red and green pieces of something), sesame seeds, goji berries and I think golden raisins and stir those ingredients into the lovely warm goo. And she'd say it was good for your skin and for your beauty. Became kind of a night time ritual, I think I will pick it up again.