450g frozen sliced lotus root
800g mashing potatoes (about 4 medium-large), peeled
1 teaspoon salt
200ml milk
50g butter, plus extra to grease
200g cheddar cheese, grated
1 clove garlic, halved
oil, to drizzle

One of my favourite snacks at teppanyaki restaurants in Tokyo was sliced lotus grilled on the hot plate until crunchy, with cheese melted all over. It is very messy to do at home, but I have used that as inspiration for a cheesy side dish of lotus and potato. It’s a great dish as a change from rice and goes well with teppanyaki steak and vegetables.

Frozen lotus is available in Asian food stores and some supermarkets. You can substitute thinly sliced kūmara which has lovely flavour but won’t have the same crunchy texture of renkon (lotus root) chips.

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1.Heat the oven to 180°C fan bake.
2.Spread the lotus root on paper towels and leave to defrost and drain for about 30 minutes.
3.Cut the potatoes into evenly sized pieces, put in a saucepan with the salt and cover with cold water.
4.Partially cover the pan and bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook the potatoes until tender.
5.Drain and leave in the colander for 5 minutes to let the steam escape and the potatoes dry off.
6.In a saucepan, heat the milk and butter until just before the boil, add the potatoes and use a potato masher to gently mash until smooth.
7.Stir in one third of the cheese, taste and season with salt to taste. Set aside.
8.Grease a gratin dish or ovenproof dish with butter then smear the cut sides of the garlic all over the buttered dish (if you like a stronger garlic flavour, crush or slice the clove and spread it over the bottom of the dish).
9.Spread the mashed potato over the bottom of the dish.
10.Arrange the lotus root on top, pressing each piece into the potato so it stands up.
11.Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top.
12.Spray or drizzle with oil and grind over black pepper if liked.
13.Bake for 40 minutes until golden and crispy.

Recipes & food styling Fiona Smith / Photography Aaron McLean / Styling Fiona Lascelles