Lotus blossoms are the national flower of India and the entire plant is popular in Indian cuisine for its unique flavor and unadulterated beauty. This particular recipe caramelizes the fibrous stems of the lotus plant in a zesty garlic-chili sauce and serves them over a bed of mung bean noodles. This is an easy way you can impress your friends and these noodles can be served as a light meal or an exciting side.

Caramelized Garlic-Chili Lotus Stems With Mung Bean Noodles [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

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  • 3 medium-sized fresh lotus stems, peeled
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons mildly hot red chilis
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (for color)
  • 2 green onion stalks, finely chopped
  • 6 basil leaves, torn into smaller pieces
  • 1.76 ounces mung bean noodles/cellophane noodles
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 3 teaspoons sesame seeds, lightly dry roasted
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons corn or safflower oil


  1. Slice the lotus stems into thin pieces along the diagonal.
  2. Steam them for 5-7 minutes until they're cooked through.
  3. Cook the mung bean noodles according to the package's instructions. When they're soft toss with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, sesame oil, green onions, and basil.  Put them in a serving bowl and set them aside.
  4. Combine garlic, red chilis, and vinegar in a small food processor and process them until you get a bright red paste.
  5. Heat the remaining oil in a 6-inch frying pan. Add the garlic-chili paste and fry it for 1 minute.
  6. Add the lotus stem pieces and remaining 1 teaspoon salt.
  7. Stir-fry this mixture for 2-3 minutes until the lotus stems are nicely coated with garlic chili mixture. If you would like a "redder" finish, add the paprika.
  8. Add the tamari and brown sugar and fry them mixture for 2-3 minutes or until lotus stems are nicely caramelized and slightly browned.
  9. Place the lotus stems on the prepared moong bean noodles.
  10. Garnish them with roasted sesame seeds and serve the dish immediately.


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