Have you eaten any wafers other than potato? Most people in India may have eaten banana wafers and if you have Malayali friends, chances are you have eaten tapioca wafers. Most people cannot think beyond potatoes! Come on, get out of that stupid potato shell. There are other amazing root vegetables out there!! I would prefer elephant yam to potato ANY day. Call it boasting, but I love yam the way I prepare it. Those of you who havent tried it yet, please do. You will discover yam is yum.
This time for Diwali, I made wafers, which is not a traditional Diwali sweet/savory item. During my routine visit to the Malayali shop (they are a common phenomenon here in Mumbai where I live. You will find one every 2-3 Kms or so) I saw some kachil, a type of yam that is found mostly in tropical countries. I had never seen anyone making chips out of these, but I thought of trying it out. So I cleaned, sliced, and fried them. The first batch turned out limp and soggy. I did not get disheartened. Tried adjusting the flame and then the next batch was perfect! For those of you who have made any other wafer, the process remains the same. Here’s how you can:
Kachil (Yam) – As much as you have patience for
Oil (for deep frying) – 250 ml
Salt – 2 tbsp
Water – half a glass
Wash and clean the yam thoroughly and peel it. This part can be really painful as they are uneven, hairy, and muddy. Slice the yam to thin pieces using a slicer. Slice them on to a tissue paper (or a newspaper like some of us rustics do ;-)). Separate the sliced pieces so that they do not stick to each other. Mix the salt in half a glass of water and keep it aside.
Heat oil in a kadai. When the oil smell hits you and the oil is hot enough, adjust the flame to medium and then drop a bunch of sliced yam pieces (as much as the oil can hold) into the oil. Stir occasionally using a spatula. It takes at least 2 mins for the yam pieces to get cooked. You can gauge this when you stir using the spatula. You will feel the stiffness of the yam pieces which is very different from their soft feel on the spatula when they were fresh in the oil. At this stage take a tsp of the salt water and pour it into the hot oil. Ensure that you stand a little away from the kadai while doing this as this can cause oil to splutter. The salt water that you just poured into the hot oil with the clunky chips will cause some commotion (bubbles so to speak) in the oil. When the bubbles die down, remove the yam pieces from the oil and spread them on to a tissue paper (again, for some of us newspaper comes handy). Enjoy the chips with a garam glass of chai!
You can make wafers out of colacasia also. Which reminds me of some amazing dishes that can be made of colacasia stems! Colacasia stem avial…mmm…my all time favorite…slurp slurp. That post is reserved for another occasion.
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