On first glance lotus root is not a very attractive vegetable. It looks dirty, like an oddly shaped potato. It’s pale brown spotty skin probably the reason most Westerners don’t cook with this. Again, lotus root can be found in specialty markets or in the Asian markets.
Lotus root is a starchy vegetable that grows under water. The tubular shape of the lotus root has been known to grow quite long. The average lotus root I found at the store ranged from about 2 inches to about 6 inches.
When picking lotus root, you want a fairly clean skinned one. You do not want any major blemishes or soft spots. The lotus root should be hard to the touch. The first time I bought lotus root I made the mistake of putting them in the fridge until I was ready to use them. NO! They are like potatoes and keeping them in a cool, darker area of your kitchen is ideal storage. Even keeping them in the plastic bag can start to break them down as they seem to sweat on themselves and being to rot.
For making crisps or chips, a mandolin provides equal slices. Just be careful to use the guard as you get closer to the smaller piece of lotus root!!!!!
A sliced lotus root has the most beautiful inner shapes. The whole root is made up of a starchy vegetable with smaller hollow tubes inside reflecting a flower shape (at least that’s what I see).
And now for the recipe! What you will need:
2-5 lotus roots (depending on size), sliced using the 1/8 setting on a mandolin
2 T rice vinegar
Oil for cooking
Salt & Pepper
A spider for fishing out the lotus chips
A container for soaking the sliced lotus root
What you will do:
1. Prepare a container with cold water and the 2 T of rice vinegar and set aside.
2. Peel and slice the lotus root. Transfer to rice vinegar water. This will stop the lotus root from oxidizing and turning a brown color. Let the lotus root soak for about 20 minutes. Drain, rinse and pat dry (I use my salad spinner but you can also arrange on kitchen towel. You want them to be very dry).
3. In a wok, on high heat bring oil up to temperature (about 350 degrees, or check by testing a piece and if it rapidly bubbles it is ready)
4. When oil is ready, gently place sliced lotus root in the oil and use the spider to shift around so they don’t stick. Cook until golden brown. Remove and let drain on kitchen towel and immediately season with salt and fresh cracked pepper.
These chips are wonderful warm or can be stored and eaten over the next few days. This is just one of the many ways lotus root can be used to satisfy your taste buds. Fried? Yes, but oh so tasty!
This blog is dedicated to little Tah who always loved a bag of chips and I know he would have loved these. “Let’s think of him as being rewarded in heaven sooner than us.” ~ Khun Ah.
Cheers and happy eating!