Lotus Root Chips
Lotus Root Chips
Lotus root - the stem of the lotus plant - looks like sausage links when whole and lace biolies when sliced. Because of its high starch content, this vegetable makes a good alternative to potato for frying into chips. You can get as creative as you’d like when seasoning these chips. Tamarind salt is good, but so is Japanese furikake or Mexican chile salt seasoning. Lotus root can also be sliced slightly thicker and added to brothy soups, such as Sour Leaf Soup (page 109), for texture. When buying lotus root, look for a whole root that feels firm. For this recipe, avoid presliced lotus root found in vacuum-sealed bags (it will be hard to slice up thinner). To ensure thin, even slices for this recipe, use a mandoline. A japanese Benriner slicer is dependable and inexpensive.
Makes 8 to 10 cups
12 ounces lotus root (about one 5-inch segment)
1 ½ cups canola oil
Salt or Tamarind Salt (page 217)
Peel the lotus root and slice crosswise into nearly paper-thin strips. Soak for 10 minutes in water. Drain the slices and spread on a kitchen towel to wick away excess water.
Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Have a spider or slotted spoon handy.
Heat the oil in a wok over medium-high heat. To test if the oil is hot enough, add one lotus root slice. If bubbles form around the slice right away, the oil is ready for frying. Fry the lotus root chips in batches (overcrowding the wok will cause the chips to stick together), stirring often, until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Lower the heat if chips start turning dark brown in spots but still look raw.
Lift the chips out of the oil with the spider and scatter on the paper towels. Season with salt and repeat with the remaining chips. The chips will crisp up as they cool. Store in an air-tight container for up to 5 days.