Vancouver TikTok Foodie Tiffy Chen’s Spicy Lotus Root Salad

Tiffy Chen has developed a following in the millions on TikTok and her blog for her easy-to-follow Asian recipes. Now the Vancouverite has collected 88 of those recipes—including the one below for a salad that tastes better the longer it sits—into her first cookbook, Tiffy Cooks: 88 Easy Asian Recipes From My Family to Yours.

Spicy Lotus Root Salad

Mala lianou shala

Some restaurants in Taiwan will set out appetizers at the front entrance, and I always reach for the lotus root salad. If you ask my friends and family what my favorite vegetable is, everyone will say lotus root! Lotus root is actually the stem of the lotus flower. It may look intimidating but it’s easy to cook and super versatile. It’s crunchy, absorbs flavor well, and reminds me of a less starchy version of potatoes. The best part about this salad is that if you prep it ahead, the lotus root will continue to soak up the flavor of the sauce, so you can enjoy it throughout the week, and it tastes better every time. Lotus root also has plenty of health benefits, such as boosting digestion, regulating blood pressure, and reducing stress.

Serves 2


2 ounces (55g) dried wood ear mushrooms

5 ounces (140g) lotus root, peeled and cut crosswise into ⅛-inch-thick slices

5 garlic cloves, minced

6 dried Chinese red chilies

1½ teaspoons red chili flakes

1½ teaspoons sesame seeds

1½ tablespoons chili oil

¼ cup vegetable oil

½ teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns

2½ tablespoons black vinegar

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

1½ teaspoons sugar

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Unsalted roasted peanuts, for garnish (optional)


Soak the mushrooms in a bowl of room-temperature water until softened, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain, squeeze dry, and break into bite-size pieces. Set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil over high heat. Add the lotus root and blanch for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside. This will help the lotus root stay flavorful and crunchy.

In a large heatproof bowl, combine the garlic, Chinese red chilies, red chili flakes, sesame seeds, and chili oil.

In a small saucepan, heat the vegetable oil and Sichuan peppercorns over high heat for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the oil reaches 350°F / 180°C on a deep-frying thermometer. Carefully pour the hot oil over the chili mixture. (You can strain the oil into the bowl through a metal strainer to remove the peppercorns, if desired.) Once the oil stops bubbling, stir to combine.

Pour the black vinegar, light soy sauce, and sugar into the hot oil. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Add the lotus root, mushrooms, and cilantro to the sauce and toss. Transfer the salad to a large serving bowl. Garnish with the roasted peanuts, if desired, and serve immediately.

Excerpted from Tiffy Cooks: 88 Easy Asian Recipes From My Family to Yours by Tiffy Chen. Copyright © 2024 Tiffy Chen. Photography and illustrations by Vanessa Wong. Published by Penguin, an imprint of Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved. Discover more recipes.


Post Date:

February 27, 2024