Introduction: Lotus Chips

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When I saw lotus root at my local Japanese market, I knew it was time to experiment with lotus chips.  My recent go-round with baked root vegetables was such a striking disappointment that I decided the only way to tackle lotus was to fry it.  I can't say I necessarily made the right decision.  While awesomely crispy and perfect in color, the chips did come out slightly oilier than I would have liked.  Whether the fault of the type of oil, the frying temperature I used, or the fact that lotus root is meant to be baked, not fried, I don't know.  I will be experimenting more in the future. 

None of this stopped me from gobbling a whole batch of them - let me be clear about that.  Crispy and salty and open to receiving whatever melange of spices you choose to infuse them with, lotus chips are an awesome snack for any time of year.   

And yes, these are awesome with a Spicy Celery Cocktail!

Step 1: Slicing

This is its own step because lotus roots are so beautiful to slice into, that I wanted to make sure this picture could be appreciated in its full glory.  

Slice your lotus root very thinly.   My mandoline was not slicing them as thin as I liked so I did them by hand.  Methinks it's time for a new mandoline! 

Step 2: Fry (or Bake)

I fried the lotus slices in hot hot oil in small batches until they turned light brown They continue to brown a bit once they come out, so don't wait toooooo long!.  Once they come out of the oil, I drained them on some paper bags.

If you decide to go the oven-baked route, I would recommend tossing the slices in a little bit of oil and seasoning, and baking for ~20 minutes in a 400F oven.  Be sure to check on them and turn the tray halfway through.  

Step 3: Enjoy

I salted the chips while they were still hot, but you should definitely experiment with whatever seasonings you like.  I wanted to keep it simple so I could experience what the lotus root tastes like on its own.  While I suggest trying this, let me tell you, it's not magical, so feel free to go to town on the seasonings.

I stored the chips in a paper bag to try and absorb some of the extra oil.  You could keep them in a sealed container to store them longer and keep them crisper.