DELECTABLE LOTUS ROOT SALAD (for six)
1 tablespoon dried shrimp (optional)
a couple of small, crinkly pieces of wood ear mushroom
1 section of fresh, young lotus root (about 7 ounces)
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
2-1/2 teaspoons clear rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
a few small horse ear (diagonal) slices of red chili or bell pepper, for color
1 spring onion, green part only, sliced diagonally
1 teaspoon sesame oil
salt, to taste
1. Soak the dried shrimp (if using) and the wood ears, separately, in hot water from the kettle for at least 30 minutes.
2. Bring a panful of water to a boil. Break the lotus root into segments and use a potato peeler to peel them. Trim off the ends of each segment and slice them thinly and evenly; each slice will have a beautiful pattern of holes.
3. Blanch the lotus root slices in the boiling water for a minute or two, they will remain crisp. (Make sure you blanch them soon after cutting or the slices will begin to discolor.) Refresh in cold water and drain well.
4. Drain the wood ears and the shrimp (if using). Tear the wood ears into small pieces. Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl and mix well.
from Fuchsia Dunlop,Every Grain of Rice