Kanako's Kitchen

Renkon Manju: Lotus Root Dumplings

Posted in main dish, Recipe, side dish by Kanako Noda on March 8, 2010

First some etymology: “renkon” is what we call the root of the lotus flower plant, while manju, less poetically, means something like “round bun”. What we have here, in fact, is a shrimp-infused dumpling made with a dough of grated lotus root. Place one of these in a bowl under sauce and you’ve made a blockbuster side-dish. Put two of them in a bowl and what you have is a deeply satisfying main.

When we lived in Europe, we had a really hard time sourcing fresh lotus roots, but here in Montreal it’s no problem: they always seem to have them at Kim Phat. That means we’re able to make lotus root tempura, which is a particular favorite of mine, as well as braised lotus root (kimpira), which is also very good. But renkon manju is in a league of its own: a truly special delicacy.

Don’t let this recipe intimidate you, though: after you’ve done it once or twice you’ll find it’s much easier than you imagine.

Ingredients: (for four dumpling)

  • Lotus roots -200g (Two medium ones)
  • Shrimp -Four medium sized shrimps
  • Shitake mashrooms (dry) – One or two
  • Potato starch – One tablespoon
  • Salt
  • Oil for frying


  • Water – 1.5 cups
  • Konbu – one 5 cm. piece
  • Dashi – 1 teaspoon
  • Soy Sauce – 1 tablespoon
  • Potato starch – One tablespoon
  • Optional: Wasabi
  • Optional: Grated lime rind


  1. Put dry shitake mashrooms in water to recompose
  2. Peel the lotus roots and microwave them for one minute. When you heat the lotus roots, they become stickier so this makes it easier to make the dumpling shapes.
  3. Grate the lotus roots.
  4. Add the potato starch and a pinch of salt to the grated lotus roots.
  5. Clean the shrimp and dice it. Then cut shitake mashrooms, too.
  6. Mix the shrimp and shitake in the lotus roots.


First, make the sauce

  1. Place a piece of konbu in 1.5 cups of cold water in the smaller pot
  2. Bring to a boil
  3. Add dashi, then soy sauce and mirin
  4. Keep on low heat

Fry the dumpling

  1. Divide the mix into four. Shape the mix into little balls. If you use a frying pan like me, flatten the balls a little bit and  make an indentation in the center.
  2. Fry the dumplings.
  3. When the dumpling is fried, mix one tablespoon potato starch with a tablespoon of room-temperature water. Take konbu out the sauce and bring the sauce to a boil again. Then thicken the sauce by adding the disolved potato starch little by little, mixing the sauce all the time.
  4. Place the dumplings in a bowl. (If you put more than one, heap them up in mountain shape. Don’t line them up.)
  5. Pour the sauce over the dumplings in the bowl.
  6. Garnish by placing a little bit of wasabi and grated lime peel on top of the dumpling.
  7. Serve hot

If you serve one dumpling each, this recipe is perfect as a side dish. At our place, we make slightly bigger servings because we like the dish so much. With two dumplings per bowl, you can call this a main dish.

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8 Responses

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  1. Jenn said, on March 9, 2010 at 9:40 am


    This looks really good! I am going to the asian supermarket soon and will try to pick up some lotus root to try making it.

  2. Quico said, on March 9, 2010 at 1:07 pm


    I can certify these are absolutely delicious. However, for some reason, they tasted “Chinese” to me. I think it’s because of the starch-thickened sauce, which is something I tend to associate with chinese restaurants.

    Kanako was not amused when I said this. It’s delicious, but it’s Chinesely delicious.

    (Kanako’s husband here)

  3. Kepler said, on May 13, 2010 at 11:51 am

    I certainly hope more recipes are coming!

  4. kaiji sushi said, on May 21, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    wow that looks amazing! i will definitely have to give it a try. thanks!

  5. Jenn said, on May 23, 2010 at 6:36 pm


    I hope you will be posting more recipes soon…..have missed seeing new recipes on your blog!

  6. Neko Tonegawa said, on July 6, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Can this recipe be made with dry lotus roots??

  7. Kanako said, on July 6, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    Hi Neko Tanegawa,
    I have no idea whether it can work. Give it a try and tell us how it goes!
    I didn’t even know dry lotus roots existed.

  8. Gail said, on October 20, 2018 at 10:54 am

    How much mirin in the sauce?

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