Malanga Chips

18 Jun

Tonight is the Top Chef Chicago reunion show…  I will tune-in because I want to see who wins Fan Favorite.  I would like to see Richard win.  He was a great chef, competitor and human being all around.   I already told you some about it here.  Stephanie got the grand prize, and I am super glad for it, so I think Richard should get Fan Favorite and get that $10,000 prize…

Because the show is at 10PM, and I usually watch it a bit later (thanks to TiVo) I usually get the munchies… so for a late-night snack, I want to make something that is a little homage to this season finale in Puerto Rico, but also to Season 2 finale in Hawaii…  Malanga Chips, or as the Hawaiians might call them, Taro Chips.

This is what a Malanga or Taro looks like at the grocery store or farmer’s market.  Its sort-of oval in shape and the flesh is lilac and speckled.



I’ve never been to Hawaii – at least not yet… but I learned in the Top Chef Season 2 finale that Taro, or Malanga as we call it here in Puerto Rico, is very widely used, particularly in a typical dish they have called poi.  In Puerto Rico, we mostly boil them in salted water and eat them cut in pieces or mashed drizzled with olive oil. 

But just like any other root vegetable we can make chips… here’s how.




1 small malanga, washed and peeled
1 cup of canola oil to fry
Garlic Salt to sprinkle liberally


  1. In a large skillet, heat up canola oil until it is hot enough to fry.  Use the back side of a wooden spoon to know when the oil is ready.
  2. Using a mandolin, slice the malanga in slices as thinly as possible.
  3. Drop the malanga slices onto the oil to fry.  They’ll take about 10 minutes.  Flip them over to make sure the chips fry evenly on both sides.
  4. When the edges start to turn a light golden color, remove them from oil.  Drain them on a paper towel and sprinkle with garlic salt.


I also did a test BAKING the chips instead of frying them.  They actually turned out OK.  Here’s what I did:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 F.
  2. Place the malanga slices side-by-side on a baking sheet.  They can touch, but try that they are not on top of each other so they can cook evenly.
  3. Brush each slice on both sides with canola or olive oil.
  4. Bake for about 10-15 minutes.  After the first 10 minutes watch them a bit, and when the edges start turning golden brown, take them out.  They can burn really easily.
  5. Transfer them onto a paper towel to drain any excess oil and sprinkle them with garlic salt.


You can find these in bags already made in health foods or street vendors around Puerto Rico…

Nice and crispy home-made snack for any occasion.  This would be a perfect substitute for any potato chip occasion.  Try it… and let me know if you love them too.


A bit of nomenclature housekeeping here… and I say this in no way to confuse you.  Just in the interest of being helpful in understanding my post and the main ingredient.

Malanga is the Puerto Rican word used for a Taro root vegetable.  Cubans use the word malanga to refer to a different kind of root vegetable – the one we call yautía in Puerto Rico, which there are 2 kinds – yautía blanca/malanga blanca and yautía lila/malanga lila .  Yautía or Cuban malanga looks like this…

Just wanted to you that I know there is a difference in how you call these depending on where you live or how your parents call it.

5 Responses to “Malanga Chips”

  1. ILIANA May 7, 2010 at 9:52 am #

    In some parts of Cuba(Matanzas region) what you call Yautia is called Malanga and what you call Malanga is called Guagüí.

    • karmafreecooking May 7, 2010 at 11:01 am #

      Yes… my Cuban family calls these root vegetables differently and when I travel to Miami I need to modify my vocabulary to make sure we’re all talking about the same things. But the Guaguí term is new to me… how do you pronounce it?? Like a “guagua”?? Guagüí?? please confirm… thanks.

  2. John Webb October 29, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

    I understand this root is good for babies that have colic or adults with digestive issues, is this the case?

    • KarmaFree Cooking October 30, 2011 at 9:23 am #

      to be honest… I am not sure. But I do know that in Puerto Rico people who are not feeling well often make “viandas” such as malangas because they are softer on the system.

  3. Frank Rummel June 17, 2016 at 8:52 pm #

    I recently bought a Malanga by mistake. I have recently gone vegan and am experimenting and learning about new kinds of food and decided to make an adventure out of it. This recipe was really great because I like simplicity. Thanks. The malanga chips were a tasty new experience!

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