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Prolet or Water Lily Stem: Ideas?


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After ogling them for months, I finally grabbed some remarkable water lily stems from a local Khmer market. However, I can't quite figure out how to use them. In Riviere's Cambodian Cooking, they are used in a sour fish soup and raw in a cold coconut shrimp soup, but I'm serving a samla and don't want another stewy/soupy item. Riviere suggests that celery is an acceptable substitute, but I don't know what that means for other dishes exactly.

I am preparing a big Khmer meal tomorrow that hasn't yet used the prolet in anything, and I'm looking for other ideas. Thanks.

Chris Amirault

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Are they water lily stems or lotus stems? I was reading a recipe recently - I of course can't find it in any book, that recommends lotus stems as a substitute for lotus root when they're in season. I treat my lotus roots with a blanching in acidulated water, followed by an immersion in a 50:50 ratio of rice vinegar and sugar. Not sure how Khmer that is, but they're tasty. If the holes are big, what I've seen here in China is the root stuffed with glutinous rice and then simmered in a sweet syrup. Sticky and yummy. If the roots are more like celery, though, a stir-fry with some ground pork flavoured with kampot peppercorns, cilantro roots, and garlic would taste great. If they seem starchy, you might want to blanche them first.

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I'll photograph later this morning, but I'm quite sure they are water lily stems -- at least, that's what they're called in the resources I have. Having said that, I don't know what lotus stems look like, so who knows.

Chris Amirault

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In China we ate a simple stirfry that included lotus stems. It tasted very good, and the dish was popular with the group. It was that braising kind of stir-fry, with a sauce that included garlic, a tiny amt of soy sauce, probably some chicken stock, and a cornstarch thickener. The sauce was almost clear, not brown-colored at all. The garlic was not browned. The lotus stems were more narrow, so they were younger vegs, and tender enough not to require peeling. As with Asian stirfries, the vegs were barely cooked, and served tender-crunchy.

Edited by djyee100 (log)
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I talked to the shop owner the next day and found out that they had been delivered five days before; when I got home, they were looking pretty tired. I ended up serving some of them on a raw vegetable plate, and I'm eager to get more and try out a soup.

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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