The large pink lotus flowers that float on the top of lakes in China grow from roots anchored in the mud below the surface. The roots resemble large white potatoes strung together like sausage links, and they are a common vegetable eaten in China. When sliced, the inside of a lotus root has holes that make a lacy pattern. You can buy them fresh or canned at Asian grocery stores. Substitute potatoes or jicama if you can’t find lotus root.