Happy Friday everyone! Mid-Autumn festival just passed, did you enjoy the super moon along with snowy moon cakes? I sure did. To officially start my fall, I did another food experiment with balsamic vinegar. Made it into vegan caviar and paired it with baked lotus root chips and vegan cream cheese! (If you are interested in a sweet version of this caviar, check out this Lavender Caviar with Tofu Pudding).
Let’s talk about lotus root first. Lotus is a beautiful flower that grows in ponds in China and Japan. Almost every part of the plants can be cooked and eaten. The root is often made into soups with bone broth and the seeds are made into sweet soups or smashed into a paste and used as fillings for pastry (like the traditional mooncake). Lotus root is a great source of fiber that helps reduce blood cholesterol, sugar, body weight and constipation conditions. It’s also super low in calories and full of vitamin C!
I am also fascinated by vegan cheeses. I always wonder how they are made. I’ve done some research and found that they are made of nuts and lemon juices to mimic the taste of cheese. Since the highlight of this recipe is the lotus root, instead of making the cream cheese from scratch, I bought this vegan cream cheese from Wholefoods. It’s a little too acidic to my liking. So I seasoned it with a little more olive oil and salt and added water in it to thin it out. The final cream turned out great, and perfect with the balsamic caviars.
A more detailed tutorial of how the balsamic caviar is made can be found here. This method is simple enough to make at home and it works with many other sweet or savory liquids too. Try it at your next special occasion and show off your culinary skills!
- 1 medium fresh lotus root
- 2 tablespoon of cooking oil
- Pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper
- ¾ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 bag (2g) agar agar powder
- 2 cup canola oil (refrigerate it the night before to make sure its COLD)
- 2 tablespoon of vegan cream cheese
- 3 teaspoon of olive oil
- 2 teaspoon of water (you may need to adjust the amount of water depending on the kind of vegan cream cheese you use)
- Chopped Chive as garnish
- ) Preheat oven at 300F
- ) Remove ends of the lotus roots, peel skin off with a vegetable peeler.
- ) Slice the root with a mandolin into thin slice.
- ) Combine root thins with oil, black pepper, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Mix with hands until each slice is fully covered with oil and seasoning
- ) Grease baking pan with olive oil, place slices on the baking sheet. Make sure there’s enough room between each slice so they don’t stick together.
- ) Bake it for 10 minutes, check and see if they are brown. I sliced mine pretty thin, so they were ready after 13 minutes. So the time you need to bake them depends on how thin/thick the slices are. Once done, set aside.
- ) In a small sauce pan, combine balsamic vinegar and agar agar and bring them to boil. Stir until the agar agar is completely dissolved in the vinegar. Once it starts boiling, turn off the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes.
- ) Use a plastic pipette or a small squeeze bottle to drop balsamic vinegar in COLD oil, 1-3 drops at a time.
- ) Scoop the caviar with a mesh sieve to drain all of the oil.
- ) Rinse it with cold water and it’s ready to serve!
- ) Combine vegan cream cheese, olive oil and water in a mixing bowl, whisk until smooth.
- ) Place cream cheese and balsamic caviar on lotus root chips, sprinkle chives on it to garnish. Serve!