Creature Comforts

There’s no accounting for what provides comfort. Some things are nearly universal, such as spending time with the people you love, or burrowing deep under a heavy blanket when it’s cold out. Food has always factored in for me, of course, but some surprising things came to the fore at the height of the pandemic. Shut off from the world, distraction was the best way to cope, and that meant losing myself in the world of anime and donghua. There’s no such thing as a mild obsession, which describes my sudden and complete immersion in these words just as well.

In one of my favorites, Mo Dao Zu Shi (魔道祖师), there’s a passing mention of lotus root soup. Only once does it actually grace the screen, but that was enough to capture my imagination. To better inhabit this world, to more fully experience the drama, I needed to make this soup.

As a time-honored Chinese preparation, lotus root soup itself has been a source of comfort for centuries. Simple and spare, with a clean, clear broth that sings with ginger, dried jujubes infuse a touch of sweetness to balance out the flavors with grace. The lotus root becomes tender yet remains crisp even after cooking for an hour. The flavor of this tuber is quite mild, which makes the alluring texture its greatest asset to the stew. Traditionally pork is use to add richness and protein, but in my version, wheat gluten is a natural substitute.

On that note, being the complete geek that I am, I’d like to think that my recipe is something that Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji would be able to share. Though Wei Wuxian always preferred meat and spicy foods, lotus root soup was a favorite of his, and Lan Wangji always forbade the killing of animals within his sect’s territory. Secretly, I wonder if he was a vegetarian at heart.

Even if you’re not familiar with the story, this is definitely an effortless source of edible comfort that everyone can enjoy.

Yield: Makes 6 Servings

Lotus Root Soup

Lotus Root Soup

Simple and spare, with a clean, clear broth that sings with ginger, meatless lotus root soup is a completely comforting experience.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes


  • 8 Ounces Fried Gluten or Seitan, Cut into 1/2-Inch Chunks
  • 1 Medium (About 3/4 Pound) Fresh Lotus Root, Peeled and Sliced
  • 1/4 Cup Raw Peanuts
  • 8 Dried Jujubes (AKA "Red Dates"), Sliced
  • 1 Inch Fresh Ginger, Peeled and Finely Minced
  • 6 Cups Vegetable Stock
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 3 Scallions, Thinly Sliced


  1. Combine everything except the scallion in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for about 1 hour. The lotus root should be tender when done.
  2. Top with scallion and serve hot.


This recipe can also be made in a pressure cooker. Cook on high for 20 minutes and let the pressure release naturally.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 78Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 967mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 6g

All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.

6 thoughts on “Creature Comforts

    1. Oh I love it! Just proving that life imitates art, right? I’m so glad I’m not alone here. It’s just a lot of fun to turn these pieces of fiction into reality.

  1. […] Mo Dao Zu Shi (魔道祖师) is far from a food-focused donghua, but stick with me here. The protagonist, Wei Wuxian, is known to make his meals unbearably spicy, to the point that you’d think one’s spirit would depart their body after a single bite. This turns out to be an asset that ultimately cures those suffering from corpse poisoning. […]

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