Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Lotus Roots and so on ....

I saw them and I bought them :-)

Right, lotus root ( 蓮 藕 ) .

The name is a misnomner as these are not real roots - these are just the air-pods (or floaters) and the roots grow from the nodes in between the pods. I bought both the matured lotus root (from China) and the young, tender ones (purportedly from Perak, according to my belly-button twink) but Negri Sembilan is also a big supplier of this vegetable.

Interestingly, lotus roots are often seen at Chinese wedding along with the tray of dates, ginger, longan and melon seeds placed under or on the bridal bed. The last four food items - (紅) 棗 , 生 (姜) , 桂 (圓) , (瓜) 子 - when reading the characters outside the brackets together, the phrase sounds like zao-sheng-gui-zi (早生) - meaning having children early in the marriage.

How abut the lotus root? Well, you do not use the whole lotus root, just the tip ...

That represents a baby boy's thingy :-)

Back to why I bought the lotus root - the matured root is for making soup and the tender ones are for pickling. More later on this.

We went to PJ Old Town for dinner and I got a hankering for steamed soup and claypot rice.

In PJ Old Town there is only one place that is really great for this combination and that is Restaurant Veng Soon (F19. Jalan 1/21, PJ 46000), just a short walk from the Old Town Bus Station.

The restaurant serves a variey of steamed soups - most of them about RM4.00-4.50 but there are some slightly more expensive ginseng-based or exotic game soups. My favourite soups are, of course, lotus root and peanuts,

and salted vegetable and duck soup.

Their ginseng chicken soup is pretty good and they have an excellent winter-melon soup (soup served in a whole steamed winter-melon) but it is a but too big for two persons!

The main dish is, of course their chicken claypot rice served with or without salted fish.

The claypot rice is just right - not too wet or too dry, as served in some claypot restuarants. Eaten with cut red chillis, it's a great meal! I especailly love scrapping off the rice crust at the bottom of the claypot!. That is the best part of the meal!