This marmite lotus root is inspired by a famous dish that my family loves to order at Fan Cai Xiang – a vegetarian restaurant in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Marmite has been a part of my diet ever since I was a kid. This savory spread is very versatile. I used it with porridge, make soup, or as a ‘jam’ for toast. I’ve always loved Marmite more than Bovril (a beef extract) even before I was vegetarian.
Marmite is a common ingredient to elevate a savory dish and can be found on the menu at Dai Chow or restaurants alike. This spread was not readily available when I first came to the US so I always packed a large jar with me every time I visit home. Now, you purchase it online, or at stores like WorldMarket and Kroger.
Marmite Lotus Root Key Ingredients
- Lotus root – It’s often used as the main ingredients for a savory soup and stir-fries. Once you’ve coated lotus root with batter and fried, it remains crunchy and sweet. Tip – cut into 1cm thick rounds as too thin will reduce the crunchiness.
- Marmite – it’s a savory yeast spread that taste so good in soups, stir-fries with high content of B12.
- Seasoning – I’m using light soy sauce, vegan oyster sauce on top of marmite. To balance the saltiness, a combination of sweetener gives this dish a perfect savoriness. So, I used maple syrup and sugar.
How to make Marmite Lotus Root
Making this dish is as simple as the steps below!
Prepare the lotus root
Peel off the skin and trim both ends. If you plan to keep the skin on, lightly scrub the root with a brush. Then, slice each root (rhizome) into 1-cm thick rounds.
Make a batter and prepare the sauce
Whisk together all-purpose, rice flour, and plant-based milk (I used oat milk) until well-combined. If it’s too thick, add 1-2 tablespoons of water and whisk again. Check the consistency – dip lotus root and it should run through the holes and cling to it nicely.
To make the sauce, first, dissolve marmite in hot water. Then, add the light soy sauce, vegan soy sauce, maple syrup, and sugar. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved.
Cook Lotus Root – Fry or Air-fry
Method 1 – Fry
Fill a large pan with enough oil (rise up to 1-cm to the side of the pan). Heat to 350°F (175°C). To check if the oil is ready, you can either test with a cooking thermometer or chopstick. If you see bubbles forming around the chopstick, then, the oil is ready. Or drop a tiny blob of batter into the oil, if it starts to sizzle, the oil is ready.
Dip lotus root in batter, shake off excess, and carefully lower it into the hot oil.
Add as many lotus roots as the pan fits, slightly apart. Fry until golden brown for about 3-5 minutes on each side, flipping occasionally. Remove and transfer to a wire rack to keep the crunch. (Frying time varies depending on the oil’s temperature).
Method 2 – Air-Fry
Preheat the air fryer to 390F (about 3 minutes). Grease the inner rack and arrange the coated lotus root in one single layer. Spray the top with additional oil. Air-fry until golden, about 8-10 minutes, with a flip in between if needed.
Toss with sauce
To serve, place the sauce in a heated pan and cook until it starts to thicken. Add the lotus root, then quickly toss with the sauce until well coated.
Garnish with sesame seeds before serving as-is or with a bowl of rice (my favorite way).
Marmite Lotus Root Cooking Tips
- Cutting method – The original dish that I’ve tried at Fan Cai Xiang is in matchstick form. I wanted to keep the lotus root shape so I sliced them in 1cm thick rounds. This size keeps the lotus root crunch but thin enough to catch the sauce nicely.
- Batter consistency – I used all-purpose and rice flour along with oat milk to create a thick batter (with additional 1-2 tablespoons water if needed). To check the consistency, dip cut lotus root in the batter and make sure it covers all the open areas such as the holes (see video). That being said, you can definitely use gluten-free flour and adjust the water amount until you get the consistency as shown.
- Sauce – A savory and sweet combo made from a combination of umami sauce such as vegan oyster sauce, soy sauce and balance with two types of sweetener – maple syrup and sugar.
- Air-fry vs fry method – the fried version is a little more puffed up compared to the air-fried. Air-fried usually loses some of its crispiness after a while, so I suggest that you keep them warm in an oven if you are frying in batches.
If you try this recipe, I would love to hear your feedback and see your beautiful re-creation. Leave me a comment, rate it, and tag @woon.heng and #woonheng to your photos on Instagram or Facebook. Happy cooking, friends!
Marmite Lotus Root
- 1½ lbs lotus root
- 90 g rice flour
- 90 g all-purpose flour
- 1 cup plant milk + 1-2 tablespoons water
Sauce (see notes)
- ½ tablespoon marmite
- ½ cup hot water
- ½ tablespoon light soy sauce (see notes)
- ½ tablespoon vegan oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- toasted sesame seeds
- Prepare the lotus root: Peel off the skin and trim off the ends. Slice each rhizome into 1-cm thick rounds.
- Create a batter by whisking together rice flour and all-purpose flour with 1 cup of plant milk. If it’s too thick, add 1-2 tablespoons of water. The consistency should be thick enough to coat the lotus root with little dripping.
- To fry the lotus root, add enough oil to a large pan or wok and heat it to 350°F (175°C).
- Dip lotus root in the batter. Carefully, lower the lotus root into the hot oil. Add as many coated lotus roots as the pan fits with a slight gap. Use a tong or chopstick to flip while cooking. Fry until both sides are golden brown, about 3-4 minutes on each side. (tip: let crust forms before flipping) Fry for a little longer if you want a deeper color.
- To air-fry, preheat to 390F (200°C). Then, grease the inner rack with oil. Place battered lotus root in and spray the top with additional oil. Air-fry until golden brown, about 10-12 minutes (please take a peek once in a while to avoid over cook) with a flip in between. Repeat either method until all lotus root is fried.
- Prepare the sauce. Whisk together marmite, water, soy sauce, vegan oyster sauce, maple syrup, and sugar in a bowl until sugar is dissolved
- Heat a pan over medium heat. Slowly pour the sauce in. Stir with a spatula and cook until the sauce starts to thicken.
- Add the lotus root and quickly toss to combine.
- Serve warm with sesame seeds with a bowl of rice.
- If you haven’t tried marmite before, please start with the lower amount. The sauce is thick and please add more water and adjust the taste for a more saucy dish.
- Please note I’m using light soy sauce which is less salty than the original. If you use other soy sauce, please adjust the amount of saltiness accordingly.
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