Disclaimer everybody: You cannot find bags of lotus chips in the Chinese supermarkets. However, lotus root is a Chinese food find that I happen to be in love with.
Why, you ask? Well, mostly because when eaten raw or slightly steamed, it’s got a pleasing crunch to it. Plus, it’s got a very adaptable flavor to it. You can lightly coat it in sesame oil and spicy red chilies and top it off with a little cilantro, and you’ve instantly got a lovely salad that takes on the flavors you’re craving while finishing on a naturally sweet note.
But, here I am talking about fresh salads at the start of spring, and I’m actually giving you guys a recipe for FRIED lotus root!
I love it! My new junk food snack. Officially. So, I figure if I’m going to try to convince you foodies to give these a quick try, I’d better give you a few reasons to a) find lotus root in your area and b) stick them in the fryer! So, here’s the (not-so) skinny:
- A serving of lotus root has quite a bit of vitamin C in it! That’s three cheers for in-between season colds!
- Lotus has lots of potassium in it (which most Americans do not eat enough of…and we need it for things like protecting our heart and absorbing calcium!).
- Lotus has a much more spunky appearance than its fried friend Mr. Potato. It looks like Swiss cheese. But it’s a vegetable. So, there’s always that.
Anyway, I’m not an actual dietician, and frying foods is definitely something you should do in moderation, but hey, potato or lotus root? I’ll take the lotus root, thank you very much.
So, imagine this. You are inviting some friends over for an “Asian” inspired dinner part. You’ve got some pork buns. Some dry fried green beans. That’s the main meal. But what about the appetizers? These lotus chips are fried (like egg rolls), but they take half the amount of insane prep time that egg rolls take! And, I’d be willing to bet your dinner guests will get a surprise when they find out how yummy this veggie treat is. So, why not?
FYI, I got a nice sized lotus root at the market, and half of one easily satisfied our salty tooth (teeth?) this afternoon between my husband and I…
The work would be even faster if you have a mandolin. But I don’t…so if you’re in the same boat…I recommend a good sharp knife and keen eyes (we don’t want any fried fingers floating around in our bowl of chips). Slice as thinly as you safely can and then fry away. I’ve heard to make good potato chips you need them sliced paper thin. This is not the case for lotus root. I kind of like them a little clunky. You can still feel a bit of that natural snap as you bite into the chip.
- 1 medium lotus root
- 1½-2 cups vinegar (option: enough to submerge completely)
- Salt (option: sea salt) to taste
- frying oil (I used a wok and used about
- Slice your lotus root as thinly as you can (if you have a mandolin this would be handy).
- Place in bowl and pour vinegar over the root. Option: if vinegar is cheap in your area or you won't be able to do the next step a couple of times, then completely submerge to ensure maximum acidity in every bite.
- Let sit for a minimum of 2 hours on the counter and up to overnight in your refrigerator. Turn the lotus 2-3 times to evenly marinate in the vinegar.
- Heat your oil and prepare a serving dish lined with paper towel.
- Then slowly slip about 6 slices to be fried at a time. Take them out when they are golden brown and place on the plate.
- I sprinkle with salt about 2 or 3 times during the process, working with layers or separate serving dishes.
- I think this would be really good with a yogurt dip...but even alone these are wonderful! Enjoy!