Lotus seed pot.
LOTUS SEED AS FOOD
The seeds are roasted or candied for eating directly; made into a paste for producing sauces and cake fillings (in mid-Autumn it is customary to serve “moon cakes” which have a filling made of lotus seeds and walnuts); and cooked in soups, usually with chicken or beans. An example of the latter is a soup presented at banquets for newlyweds, made with red beans and lotus seeds.
Red beans (hongdou) represent strength, while lotus seeds (lianzi) symbolize the newlyweds being blessed with a child each year. The soup is also presented at the New Year’s festival.
Red Bean and Lotus Seed Soup
14-ounce package red beans (also known as adzuki beans)
1.5 ounces lotus seeds
1 piece dried tangerine skin, soaked in hot water 10 minutes until soft
3/4 cup brown sugar
In a large pot, combine 7 cups cold water, red beans, lotus seeds and tangerine skin. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat and simmer, covered, with pot lid slightly ajar, for 1 and 1/4 hours to 1 and 1/2 hours or until beans become tender.
When beans are tender and open, and lotus seeds soften, add sugar; stir. Turn off the heat, pour into a heated tureen and serve. Makes 6 servings. Because the soup is sweet, it is also served as a desert.
Lotus seeds have been analyzed to determine their nutritional value. In 100 grams (yielding about 350 calories of energy), there are 63-68 grams carbohydrate (mostly starch), 17-18 grams of protein, and only 1.9-2.5 grams fat; the remainder is water (about 13%), and minerals (mainly sodium, potassium, calcium, and phosphorus).
As a protein source, lotus seeds are relatively good, with a one ounce serving (of dried seeds) providing 5 grams. The seeds are low in fiber and not a good source of vitamins. All the recipes given above are very low in fat, but high in carbohydrates.