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French Fries

Features:
  • Veg
Cuisine:
    • 1 hr 40 min
    • Serves 4
    • Easy

    Ingredients

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    Call them finger chips or French fries, both are basically a form of deep fried chips prepared from thinly cut potatoes which are then sprinkled with salt and sometimes pepper.

    There are two methods of preparing finger chips — deep fried or oven baked. Although in all honesty, the fried ones are perfect finger chips and are more delicious than the baked ones. They are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside and melts in your mouths. The baked ones are no doubt healthier fries but not perfect finger chips.

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    How to Make French Fries

    Wash the potatoes. You can peel the skin if you want. I prefer to have them with skin since it will give a fine look to the French fries. Cut the potatoes into long and little thick sticks. If you have a potato slicer at home use it, or else take care to slice the potatoes into same size sticks so that they’ll fry evenly. Put them in large amount of water as they are cut.
    Soak the potato slices for at least an hour or more, frequently changing the water.
    When you discard the water every few minutes, mix up the potatoes from bottom up so that the starch that settled at the bottom is also discarded.You want to continue changing the water until it is free of visible starch.
    Drain the potatoes and let them sit on paper towels for few minutes (about half-an hour). This is to allow any extra water be absorbed by the paper towels.
    Take another dry paper towel and wipe each potato slice to dry them well. Let the wiped potato slices sit for few more minutes so that they are really dry. I normally collect uniform pieces and gather them into batches. If you are a neat cutter who can slice the potatoes uniformly then that’s awesome.
    Now take a wide-mouthed kadhai/deep-frying pan and heat oil in it. We are going to fry the potatoes twice. Once in the oil heated to a lower temperature and next in oil heated to a higher temperature. Don’t ever be careless in making the oil smoke. Keep the heat on medium or medium-low.
    Once the oil is heated, deep fry the potato slices. Fry them in small batches. I add about 15 slices in one batch into my deep-frying pan at a time. Remember, we are only trying to cook the potato and not trying to make them crunchy or crispy during this stage. Use a slotted spoon to turn the potatoes in the oil from time to time. This first round of cooking process will take about 5 minutes for each batch.
    Now, how can we tell that the potatoes are cooked? There are 4 cardinal rules: Smell, Taste, Behavior and Color.
    Take out a potato from the batch and smell it [here, people with sharp nose take care, don’t bring it so close to your nose tip else you’ll end up having a red nose tip]. It should have lost its raw smell. It should have that cooked smell in it. Second rule, taste. They should never have the raw taste or texture. They should really be soft.
    Third rule, behavior. Break the potato slice. They should easily break.
    Another nice behavior is, when you first put the potato into the oil, they tend to be clump in the oil. As they get cooked, each piece will float up and away from the other slices.
    Fourth rule, color. There won’t be much difference in the color. But if you note closely, the potato slices will have a very pale white coating.
    Take them out from oil and drain on paper towels. Fry all the potato slices this way in small batches and cool the potatoes really well.
    Once they’re cooled completely, heat the oil again to a little higher temperature. Deep fry the potatoes well this time. We are going to make them crunchy and crispy this time. Use a slotted spoon to turn the potatoes in the oil from time to time. If you want the French fries to be crispy and crunchy, you’ll need to wait until the potatoes turn nicely golden brown.
    You should take care that your oil is not too hot because, the slices will turn brown the moment you put them in oil. So take care that the oil is heated to a perfect temperature evenly and steadily. I keep the heat on medium-high.
    Meanwhile line a tray with paper towels. Once the potato slices are evenly browned, take them out and place them on the tray. Sprinkle salt and pepper and eat it hot. I actually sprinkle salt on the paper towels before placing hot potatoes on them. This way the salt sticks to the potatoes. Then you add the pepper.

    Trivia

    The North Carolina Potato Festival was designated as the Official Irish Potato Festival of North Carolina in 2009.
    The average American eats approximately 126 pounds of potatoes each year.
    Antoine-Auguste Parmentier was a 18th century agronomist who convinced the common French people to accept the potato as a safe food. He used reverse psychology by posting guards around potato fields during the day to prevent people from stealing them. He left them unguarded at night. So, every night, the thieves would sneak into the fields and leave with sacks of these precious potatoes!
    It is most likely that all of Europe's potato crop in the 1800s originated from only 2 plants brought back to Europe by the Spaniards. This lack of genetic diversity is one of the probable causes of the devastating potato blight of the late 19th century.

    Bhavani

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