Cajun-spiced Lotus Root Chips

23 Aug

As much as I love taking advantage of the local produce during this time of the year, curiosity gets the best of me and I can’t help but gravitate towards exotic fruits and veggies every once in awhile.  A trip to Chinatown on the weekend led to several impulse purchases…

Goodies from Chinatown

No, that’s not a sweet potato with a snout, a kiwi, or a lime.  Instead, clockwise from the left you have lotus root, sapodilla, and june plum.

Lotus root was a foreign vegetable to me until I met E.  With a beautiful appearance and slightly fibrous texture, it is commonly stir-fried or braised in Chinese cooking.  Lotus root has a relatively mild taste that is akin to a potato but a bit sweeter.  Nutritionally, it’s very similar to the potato but with slightly less starch and more fibre.  Per 100 g lotus root:  66 kcal (vs. 86 kcal), 16 g carbohydrate (vs. 20 g), 3.1 g fibre (vs. 1.4 g).

A cross-section of the unpeeled root

Peeled and sliced

The inspiration behind my recent lotus root purchase came from a recipe I stumbled across on the Internet: oven baked lotus root chips that promised to taste delicious and look gorgeous.  While the process was fun, the final product was subpar.  I can’t blame the recipe here.  Instead, I’ll blame my atrocious knife skills.  The lotus root slices all ended up being of a different thickness so some of the chips burned while others were undercooked.  Nevertheless, I managed to gobble them all up (even the charred ones) in record time… they were delicious!  With a mandoline, perfectly cooked chips would be a cinch.  Another kitchen gadget to add to my culinary wishlist…

An interesting technique to blanch the lotus root slices in the microwave

The final product: baked lotus root chips

 

Oven Baked Lotus Root Chips
(from Grouprecipes.com)

1/2 lb lotus root (about one medium)
2 tsp cajun seasoning (or your own concoction of spices)
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vegetable oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Wash and peel the lotus root, removing any brown bits as you would with a potato.  Slice 1/8 inch thick (or use a mandoline if you have one!).
  3. Slide the roots onto bamboo skewers and string across a microwave safe bowl (as pictured above).  Microwave on high for 2 minutes to blanch.  Immerse immediately in a bowl of cold water with 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar or lemon juice and a couple of ice cubes.  When cool, drain and pat dry with a kitchen towel.
  4. Mix the lotus root slices in a large bowl with the oil, spices, and salt.  Spread out onto a single layer on a non-stick baking sheet (or for easy clean-up, a baking sheet lined with foil and lightly coated with cooking spray).
  5. Bake for 10 minutes, flip, and bake for an additional 10 minutes.  Remove the chips when they are brown and golden, just like a potato chip.

Makes 2 servings.  Per serving: 125 kcal, 20 g carbohydrate, 5.6 g fibre, 4.6 g fat, 3 g protein, 340 mg sodium.

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