I first had lotus root at a great little Korean restaurant in town. I had no idea what it was. My first thought? “…This may or may not be a cross section of ET’s pancreas.” Once I got over the initial shock, I began to appreciate the beauty of the plate. I took my first bite and was instantly hooked: the lotus root was delicious. It was tender and slightly sticky, simmered in soy sauce and something sweet. I’m still working out how to replicate that dish. During the course of my many (many, many) experimentations, I’ve found that lotus root makes a fantastic baked chip.
Lotus root is starchy — not unlike a potato, actually. After a quick, tenderizing boil in water and vinegar, I give the lotus root the same treatment I would give oven-cooked spuds. I grab a few of my favorite spices, season the lotus root liberally, and toss them in a hot oven. This simple process yields a lovely, flavorful snack. The baked lotus root chips are crisp at the edges and tender in the middle, a little chewy throughout. I like to eat them with a little bit of spicy-sweet gochujang on the side.
I usually use my favorite seasoning trio of chili, garlic, and onion powders, but you can change the flavors in a million different ways. The lotus root works beautifully with just about anything. Try it with garam masala for an Indian flair; for a Latin touch, try adobo or a mix of cumin, garlic, and parsley. If you like spicy North African flavors, harissa is a great choice.
Detailed instructions after the jump!
1 lb fresh lotus root (whole or packaged and sliced)*
2 tablespoons sodium-free, sugar-free rice vinegar
5 cups water
1 tablespoon chili powder (or to taste)
1 tablespoon garlic powder (or to taste)
1 tablespoon onion powder (or to taste)
*You can find whole lotus root in lots of Asian grocery stores. However, to save myself the trouble of peeling them, I like to buy lotus root that has already been peeled and sliced. You can find this pre-sliced lotus root in the refrigerated section. The packages look like this.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Combine the rice vinegar and water in a large pot. If you are using whole, fresh lotus root, peel and slice into pieces 1/4″ thick. Make sure to add sliced pieces to the vinegar-water immediately to prevent browning. If you are using packaged lotus root that has already been peeled and sliced, simply drain and rinse before adding it to the pot of vinegar-water.
Place the pot over high heat and bring to boil. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until the lotus root becomes slightly tender. Remove the pot from heat and drain well. Pat the lotus root with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture.
Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper for easy clean up. Place the lotus root on the baking sheets in a single layer. Combine the chili, garlic, and onion powders in a bowl. Sprinkle half the seasoning blend over the lotus root. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, stopping halfway through to flip the lotus root and season the other side. Serve immediately, with gochujang for dipping. Enjoy!
Servings: 4 | Calories: 103 | Total Fat: 0.5 g | Cholesterol: 0 mg | Sodium: 66 mg | Total Carbohydrates: 23.5 g | Dietary Fiber: 6.5 g | Sugars: 1.3 g | Protein: 3.7 g