Lotus Root Chips
I won't bore you with the stir-fry (tea-smoked tofu, carrot, red bell peppers, carrots, baby corn, king trumpet mushrooms, garlic, ginger, etc), but there's always time for the Lotus Root chips.
Liz took our daughter and her friends to CAM after school -- where amongst the Asian New Year's dresses, candy and day-glo colored "fruit" drinks with marbles (?!), they somehow managed to bring home actual food, including a beautiful lotus root.
The lotus root was slightly larger than normal, which meant I had to break out the mandoline rather than the smaller Benriner. I trimmed the end sections and peeled the outer skin with a vegetable peeler, revealing the pale rhizome underneath. Holding the lotus root at a 45° angle against the mandoline (with the blade set at roughly 1/16") will result in large, long chips. The first and last 1" sections don't look as cool -- but taste great as well. After cutting them, drop them in a chilled water bath so they don't discolor.
Using a thermometer, heat the peanut or canola oil to 375°F in a large wok or pot.
Remove the lotus root from the water, drain and pat dry before deep-frying.
Working in batches, so as not to crowd the wok (causing the oil to dramatically drop in temperature), carefully drop the lotus root into the oil and fry about one minute, flipping over once -- you can tell they're done when the lotus root stop bubbling around the edges.
Remove the lotus root from the oil and drain on paper towels or a wire rack -- they might look a little lighter in color than you want, but they'll continue to darken after you remove them. Immediately sprinkle with sea salt on both sides and serve.