Here is a vegetarian dish I did a few weeks ago shooting for a dish that was light and subtle in asian flavors.  One of the main ingredients is lotus leaf.  Lotus leaf is obviously not a local ingredient,  it is native to Asia and the national flower for India.  In most Asian stores you can find dried lotus leaf.  They are normally very large and the cost is reasonable.  In this recipe I soaked the lotus leaf in hot water.  This water, after it soaked taste very much like a delicate tea.  I took the softened leaf and wrapped it around the celery root.  Then covered the whole thing in salt.  Then placed it all in a wood burning oven for about an hour. I made a sauce out of the leftover lotus water along with leek and celery.  I finished the dish off with sea beans, baby radish, and finger limes.  A great vegetarian appetizer to start off a dinner.  Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy it.

Celery root lotus leaf salt baked

4 dried lotus leaf
6 cups hot water
5 small celeriac (1.5 lb total weight)
4 cup salt

Sauce
2 cups of lotus water
4 stalks of celery diced
1 garlic cloves
1 leek diced
2 tbsp of butter and olive oil

Salt to taste

1/4 cup of sea beans
Pickled shallots ( Link here substitute stems for onions)
1 bunch of baby radishes
Celery leaves hearts
Mustard leaves
3 finger limes 


For Lotus "Tea"

Put lotus leaves in a large roasting pan or heat proof container.  Take water and bring to a simmer.  Pour hot water over the leaves.  Let it stand for at least 10-15 minutes until the leaves soften.  Place 2 leaves in a bottom of a cast iron pan.  Place the celery root in the pan and cover with the two remaining lotus leaves.  In a small bowl add salt and 6-8 tbsp of lotus water until the salt feels like wet sand.  Then cover the whole thing with the salt.  Place in the wood oven for about 1 hour ( the oven was heated around 425-450 degrees).  Let it keep cooking for 10 minutes and then crack the salt crust and take the celery out.  Allow to cool and then peel celery root.  Use a cookie cutter to cut celery root into a cylinder shape.  Set aside

For the Sauce,

In a small sauce pot add 2 tbsp of olive oil, leek, and celery.  Add 2 pinches of salt and cover the pot.  Cook for 5-7 minutes without browning.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute.  Add the lotus water and bring to a boil.  Turn down to a simmer and cook for 5-7 minutes.  Pour into a blender and puree until smooth.  While the sauce is still pureeing add the butter.  Season with salt and keep warm.

To Finish,

In a bowl add some of the celery-lotus sauce.  Warm up the celery root in the oven and season with salt.   Add it to the bowl.  Top with pickled onion, celery leaves, radish, finger limes, and sea beans.  Add mustard leaves.  Serve and enjoy! 

 

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