Similar to potato chips, these Venezuelan taro chips are given a double fry in this recipe for an extra crisp result. They are also popular thinly sliced, like corn chips. Guasacaca, a spicy avocado salsa similar to Mexican guacamole, often accompanies the chips as a dip. Every Latin country has its own variation of the salsa – some mash the ingredients until they are smooth, while others are left chunky, and more like a relish. The salsa is also popular served with grilled or barbecued meats, or prawns.
- 1.5 kg taro
- vegetable oil, to deep-fry
- 2 avocados, finely chopped
- 1 green capsicum, finely chopped
- ½ small white onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2 habanero chillies (see Note) or red bird’s-eye chillies, seeded, finely chopped
- ½ cup coriander leaves, finely chopped
- 80 ml (⅔ cup) red wine vinegar
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To make salsa, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until needed.
Thickly peel taro, then cut into 2 cm-thick batons; place taro in acidulated water as you go to prevent browning. Steam taro for 10 minutes or until just tender. Transfer to a plate lined with a clean tea towel.
Fill a deep-fryer or large saucepan one-third full with oil and heat over medium heat to 170°C (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 15 seconds). Working in batches, gently drop taro into oil and fry for 5 minutes or until tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
Increase oil temperature to 180°C (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 10 seconds) and fry taro a second time for 2 minutes or until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Season and serve immediately with guasacaca salsa.
Habanero chillies, available from selected greengrocers, are very hot. Wear latex gloves when handling.
As seen in Feast Magazine, Issue 12, pg58.
Photography by John Laurie