We usually don’t dine out at Japanese restaurants because I feel like I can cook most of the dishes myself and I prefer to eat something besides Japanese food when we go out. If my family does go out for Japanese food, it’s usually for Sushi or Ramen, which are speciality restaurants.
However lately, we kept going back to one restaurant called Izakaya Ginji (Izakaya is like Japanese Tapas) in San Mateo, California. As a person coming from Japan, I can honestly say the taste is authentic and the quality of the dishes are similar to what we get in Japan. Among their recipes, I have some favorites and I have tried recreating them at home. Today I’m going to share my favorite Renkon Chips from their menu, and I will share another noodle dish soon.
What’s renkon? It is a Japanese word for lotus root. As the recipe name suggests, it’s deep fried sliced lotus roots. It’s actually very simple dish, just like any other deep fried veggies but lotus root has a lot of holes as you see in the picture and that gives very nice texture when you eat it. It’s airy and crispy and once you eat it, it’s something you cannot stop eating.
Initially I wanted to bake it. At the restaurant, they deep fry but knowing how “health conscious” my readers are, I really tried to make it just like Ginji but baked. But after a few failed trials, the result of baking was not as satisfying as deep frying so I gave up. Please enjoy this deep fry version fully, and cut down on something else unhealthy please!
My kids and I were fighting till the last piece. I kind of wished that I made double amount, but that means I need to work out extra hard to burn off the calories! So here’s the recipe!
PS: Besides Renkon chips, Izakaya Ginji’s perfectly grilled yakitori (chicken skewers as well as veggies) cooked over Bincho charcoal is pretty amazing. My husband is crazy about yakitori and he pretty much conquered their entire yakitori menu after our frequent visits. Most of their appetizers and small dishes reminds me of home and it’s my favorite local restaurant now.
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- 1 (1/2 lb) Renkon (Lotus Root)
- Vinegar water: 2 cups water + 1 tsp. (rice) vinegar
- Oil for deep frying
- Himalayan Pink Salt (or sea salt)
- Dried Seaweed Powder (Aonori) (optional)
- Rinse the renkon and either cut with knife or use a mandolin slider to make ⅛ inch thin slices (see below). I don’t peel off the renkon skin as it gives nice look but it’s up to you.
- Soak the sliced renkon in vinegar water for 5-10 minutes. Vinegar water will prevent the renkon from changing to a dark color.
- Rinse and drain well.
- And pat dry on paper towel – make sure to wipe off all the liquid.
- Heat the oil to 340F (170C) on medium high heat. Drop a piece of renkon to see if it’s ready. If it comes right up, then it's time to deep fry.
- Deep fry until renkon gets crispy and golden color.
- Once they are nicely fried, spread on a wired rack or paper towel to drip excel oil. Season with salt and aonori and serve immediately.