Renkon no nimono
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- Main lore areas
- Main ingredients used
- History/origin/related events
It is said that the cultivation of lotus root started in the Edo period when the priest of a temple in Aisai City, Aichi Prefecture, planted lotus root in the rice field in front of the temple gate. Aisai City accounts for most of the lotus root production in Aichi Prefecture.
Aisai City is bordered by the Kiso River to the west and has very fertile soil, but because it is located at an elevation of 0 m above sea level, it was often plagued by flood damage. As a result, the cultivation of lotus root spread rapidly as an alternative to rice cultivation, and the city is still known as one of the leading lotus root production areas in the country. When it was first cultivated, "Bicchu" was the most suitable variety of lotus root for simmered dishes due to its firm texture, but today, various varieties are grown, including "Lotus White" with a strong crunchy texture and "Kanasumi" with a strong firm texture.
Because of this, lotus root dishes are often eaten mainly in the Owari area, including Aisai City. Rengon-nimono" (lotus root stew) is a typical dish, and each household has its own unique flavor. Vinegared lotus root, candied lotus root, stir-fried lotus root, and salads are also popular. Since lotus root has many holes in it, it is often used in New Year's osechi dishes as an auspicious ingredient for "foreseeing the future.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
Since lotus root is harvested from autumn to the following spring, it is often prepared and eaten during this period. Since lotus root has a hole in it so that the end can be seen, it is considered a good omen for "looking ahead," and is eaten on special occasions such as New Year's and celebratory occasions.
- How to eat
Cut the lotus root into bite-size pieces and stew them in broth, soy sauce, mirin (sweet sake), and other seasonings. After that, let it cool down to allow the flavors to soak in well. Instead of broth, "Rengon-ni-okaka-ni" (lotus root stewed with bonito flakes) is also often eaten.
Different varieties and parts of the lotus root can be used to create different textures. There is also an arrangement in which ingredients such as chicken meat and dried shiitake mushrooms are added to the "lotus root stew".
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
Even today, it is often used in school lunches and at home. In addition, events and initiatives are regularly held to make people more familiar with lotus root, such as lotus root cooking contests and lotus root digging experiences.