Tag: plant based



I just recently returned from a family trip to Hungary, where the food was heavy on rich meaty dishes, but light on veggies. I found myself craving one of my meatless meals where I make an array of plant based dishes so there’s a variety read more

Jackfruit Bowls

Jackfruit Bowls

What shreds like pork, absorbs flavor like tofu, and packs more nutrients per serving than both? Jackfruit! Jackfruit is an incredibly versatile tropical fruit that is grown throughout Southeast Asia. When ripe, it gets sweet, sticky, and yellow-orange and is used in a variety of read more

Kinpira Renkon

Kinpira Renkon

Need to get out of a side dish rut? I’ve got you. This Japanese style stir fried lotus root dish, known as Kinpira Renkon, will help you shake things up. It’s a quick and simple veggie side that delivers phenomenal flavor, and complements just about any main dish.  It’s even delicious cold, and is often packed in Japanese lunches the next day. Kinpira Renkon is a veggie dish for the veggie haters, so let’s get into it.

kinpira renkon ingredients

Renkon (Lotus Root)

Lotus root not only looks really cool, it also has a wonderfully crunchy texture and mildly sweet flavor. Throughout Asia, it is enjoyed in soups and stews, fried to make delicious chips, added to stir fries, and even blanched and added to salads. It has lots of health benefits, from improving digestion to lowering blood pressure. Lotus root looks not unlike potatoes or other root vegetables, until you cut into it.

I start making Kinpira Renkon by first peeling and slicing the lotus root, and then soaking it in water with a little vinegar. This prevents the lotus root from turning brown. Keep the lotus root soaking until you’re ready to cook. Then drain it fully and proceed.


Kinpira is a Japanese method of cooking that loosely translates to ‘sauté and simmer’. (For another kinpira recipe, try this burdock root dish) First the vegetable gets stir fried, and then a sweet and savory sauce is added.  The sauce has all the usual Japanese suspects: sake, mirin, and soy sauce. You know these ingredients get used frequently on this blog, so I hope they have a permanent place in your pantry.

Lotus root has a tendency to stick to each other and the pan, so use a pair of chopsticks, wooden spoon, or a spatula to keep things moving.

I love to serve Kinpira Renkon with rice and several other plant based dishes for a meatless dinner. Try it with:

I hope this drags you out of your same old, same old veggie side dish rut. Give it a try and let me know what you think, comment and rate on the recipe below and show off your creation by tagging @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!


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recipe card kinpira renkon

Kinpira Renkon

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: side
  • Cuisine: Japanese


  • 1 pound  lotus root (renkon)
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar (for soaking lotus root)
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed chili flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon neutral oil
  • 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • ½ Tbsp toasted white sesame seeds


  • 2 Tablespoons sake
  • 2 Tablespoons mirin
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon salt  


Make the sauce:

  1. Combine the sake, mirin, water, sugar, salt, and soy sauce.
  2. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Set aside.

For the Lotus Root:

  1. Combine 2 cups of water with the vinegar in a bowl and set aside. 
  2. Peel the lotus root and cut it in half lengthwise.
  3. Thinly slice the lotus root and add it to a bowl of vinegar water. Let it soak for several minutes and then drain and set aside when you are ready to cook.
  4. Heat a large 12” frying pan over medium high heat for several minutes. Add the oil, sesame oil, and lotus root to the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stir-frying and moving the lotus root around the pan.
  5. Add the sauce and continue to stir fry, cooking for several minutes until the sauce has reduced to a glaze.
  6. Add the sesame seeds and chili flakes, toss to combine.
  7. Transfer to a dish and serve immediately.


*Kinpira renkon is delicious hot or cold and is often served in lunch boxes. Leftovers can keep in the fridge for several days.

Keywords: lotus root, stir fry, healthy, japanese, vegan

Brussels Sprouts Salad

Brussels Sprouts Salad

This Brussels Sprouts Salad is a surprise star on our menu. While everyone likes brussels sprouts that have been fried with bacon and showered with cheese, people rarely seem to clamor to eat them raw. But finely shredded in a creamy dressing, they are a read more

Shanghai Bok Choy

Shanghai Bok Choy

As Lunar New Year continues, we are celebrating with a new spin on a classic dish. This Shanghai Bok Choy dish is an oldie but a goodie. Tender baby bok choy is cooked with earthy shiitake mushrooms in an umami packed sauce. The final dish is read more

Avocado Tofu Salad

Avocado Tofu Salad

It’s hard to avoid getting swept up into the “New Year, New Me” fervor every January. But I find that just reaffirming my commitment to creating delicious food with a focus on veggies is far more effective than making any strict dietary resolutions that are bound to fail by February. Avocado Tofu Salad is a perfect example of this philosophy. The ingredients are available year round and are loaded with nutrients. Plus, the bright refreshing taste is a welcome change after the heavy holiday treats and makes plant forward eating exciting and easy. So let’s get it into it!

avocado tofu salad ingredients

A Citrusy Salad Dressing

ingredients avocado dressing

The best salads start with an amazing dressing. And the dressing for my Avocado Tofu Salad is so simple to make, but it adds zesty complexity. I start with yuzu juice. Yuzu is a citrus fruit grown primarily in China and Japan. It’s hard to get fresh in the states, so I rely on bottled juice that you can get at any well stocked Asian grocer, or online. (Use the leftover juice to whip up a batch of Yuzu Margaritas!) Yuzu juice is quite tart, so I temper it with some honey. A neutral oil, I like avocado for this, some soy sauce, and a little toasted sesame oil round it out.

dressing avocado tofu salad

Salad Veggie Prep

onion avocado tofu salad

cucumbers avocado tofu salad

seaweed avocado

Avocados Are Life!

I know I’m not alone in this, avocado toast has been one of the most popular hashtags on Instagram for years. I’m always looking for ways to incorporate more of this fruit’s creamy, buttery, rich goodness into my life. It’s the waning days of avocado season here in Miami, and I am lucky to have access to amazing local ones grown by my friends at LNB Grovestand. Florida avocados are HUGE, so for this salad I just use a quarter of one amazing Choquette. If you are using the smaller Haas variety, you’ll use the whole thing.

If you live in Florida and haven’t had a chance to enjoy a local avocado… what are you waiting for? The growing season starts around July and in a good year, it lasts until the end of January. But some lucky years, the season has stretched a couple weeks later. The early summer varietals can be a little watery and bland. But the creamiest, most flavorful varieties are the ones we’re enjoying now, so get yourself to a farmer’s market now before they disappear.

Avocados and Tofu-a Perfect Match!

Tofu in a salad?! A resounding yes! (Check out Lemongrass Tofu Rice Salad for further proof…) Silken tofu is super soft, complements the avocado’s texture, and adds a nice contrast to the crunchy cucumbers and onion. Furthermore, it adds a good amount of protein to this salad. I slice the block of tofu lengthwise, and then slice each length into 8 pieces.

Assemble the Avocado Tofu Salad

Now that all the veggies, seaweed, and tofu have been prepped, it’s time to assemble everything. I drain the cucumbers and onions, and mix half of them with the wakame. This becomes the bed of the salad.

bowl avocado tofu salad

The salad can be made a few hours ahead of time, but I wait until serving to pour on the dressing so the crunchy stuff stays crunchy. Also, cucumbers leach a ton of water when you hit them with salt, so add the dressing on at the table to avoid a watery flavor.

This makes a great light supper, or enjoy it served alongside:

Give Avocado Tofu Salad a try and let me know what you think. Drop a comment on the recipe below, and tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!


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recipe card avocado tofu salad

Avocado Tofu Salad

  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: salad
  • Cuisine: Japanese


  • 1 container silken tofu
  • 1 avocado (I used ¼ of a giant florida avocado)
  • 1 Tablespoon dried wakame seaweed
  • ½ european cucumber
  • ¼ red onion


  • 6 tablespoons yuzu juice
  • 6 tablespoons neutral oil
  • 3 tablespoon light colored soy sauce (regular soy sauce is fine too)
  • 3 tablespoon honey
  • 2 clove garlic minced
  • 3 teaspoon toasted sesame oil


  1. Mix the yuzu juice, soy sauce, honey, garlic, oil, and sesame oil together in a cup and set aside until ready to use.
  2. Trim the red onion and slice into paper thin slivers. Put it in a bowl of ice water for 10 minutes to tame some of the strong flavor. 
  3. Cut the cucumber into thin slices. Then stack the slices and cut through them again to create thin julienne pieces. Add them to the onions and let sit in ice water while you finish prepping other ingredients.
  4. Rehydrate the wakame by soaking it in ½ cup of water. Let it sit for 10 minutes until it has bloomed. Drain and set aside.
  5. Cut the avocado in half, take out the pit and then slice the avocado into 12 slices. Set aside. 
  6. Open and drain the container of tofu. Carefully cut the tofu in half lengthwise and then each half into 8 slices. 
  7. Drain the cucumber and red onions. Combine half with the wakame.
  8. On a platter, arrange the wakame combo as a bed in the center of a platter. Arrange the tofu and avocado attractively on the plate (you can also use 4 plates if you want to make individual servings). 
  9. Arrange the rest of the cucumber and red onions on top.
  10. Serve avocado tofu salad with the dressing on the side.


*It’s best to serve the dressing on the side as the cucumber will start to leach liquid as soon as the dressing hits it, which will make the salad watery.

*Avocado Tofu Salad can be made ahead several hours in advance but it’s best to eat it the same day as the avocado will start to darken if left overnight.

Keywords: avocado, seaweed, tofu, yuzu, plant based