In Thai cooking, lotus seeds are often used in both savory and sweet dishes — more commonly the latter — with Chinese influences. Most of the time, they are found outside of Asia in dried form as shown above. Dried lotus seeds need to be soaked and steamed or simply boiled in order to be used in a recipe. Sometimes they are used whole and, being bean-like in texture when cooked, sometimes pulverized and used as a starchy component of several dessert applications, most notably as a moon cake filling.
Reconstituted lotus seeds can be split open easily allowing you to remove the green embryos in the middle which need to be removed before the lotus seeds can be used in a recipe for they are quite bitter.
Young lotus seeds are also edible raw. In fact, fresh lotus pods are often sold on the streets of Thailand as a snack. To eat fresh lotus seeds, simply pop the seeds out of the lotus head/pod, peel off the green rubbery shells (easily done by hand), and eat the seeds inside. They’re very similar to boiled peanuts, but much fresher and milder in taste.