It’s not a child thing, but we all have a fragile clutch on our dietary commitment on the sight of hot and crispy French fries. Satisfying combinations of carbs, fat and salt make us weak when fries are offered. Starchy fried goodness is loved more during monsoon and in winter. Yesterday it was quite a drizzle outside and, I fried a perfect batch of crispy yum fries. Savouring on those, I was drawn to the thoughts of sharing the logic and science behind good fries. A journey of humble potato from a starchy, wet, stiff, round mass, to the long strips of fluffy, hot, carbs which is supper crispy outside and gives a crunch as we bite into.
Doing fries at home is one of the simplest recipes, yet it holds a place in complicated to pill off category. Often we end up with soggy, sloppy, oily strips of potato at home. That is such a setback, convincing us that good fries aren’t possible at home. Would you like to know, how you can achieve a great pack of French fries at home, just like McDonald and Burger King and I am not talking about frozen fries?
The golden crisp magical wands are best eaten when hot, but gobbling them does not require and assistance. I am taking you through the process that will result in perfect French fries similar to what we buy from the market. Carry on with the points below and you will find your answer and I hope to tempt you enough to make them at home.
Hey, do you know that French fries actually are not from France? Common lore claims that the original fries were born in Belgium, where the locals were particularly fond of fried fish. When the River Meuse froze over one cold winter in 1680, people started to fry potatoes instead of fish. Interesting little glimpse from the past.
First of all, let’s talk about the type of potato suitable for good fries. Not all the potatoes we buy at the sabzi wallah are suited to french fries. We need starchy potato not waxy potato for fries.
Starchy potatoes are high in starch and low in moisture and have a floury texture with creamy white flesh. Starchy Potatoes release a milky, starchy liquid if pricked or cut. They also tend to have coarser skin.
Waxy potatoes have less starch and contain more moisture and sugar. They are often smaller with the waxy outer skin and a creamy, firm and moist flesh.
Next time you cut into a potato look and feel the textural difference and you will know what am I talking about.
The official fries size is 1/8 inch × 1/8 inch × 2 inches – Shinny fries.
The next thicker cut is 1/4 inch x 1/4 inch x 2½ to 3 inches – French fries.
The thickest stick cut: 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch x 2-1/2 inches – Chips.
Cooking time will marginally vary according to the thickness of the fries you choose to go ahead with. Zeyu Stainless Steel Home French Fries Potato Chips Strip Cutting Cutter Machine Maker Slicer Chopper Dicer
There is a process to follow which involves parboiling potatoes and then double frying them to achieve fluffy inside and crispy outside fries.
Simply cutting potatoes and frying them results into soggy fries, because as we cut potatoes into strips the starch (Starch is simple sugars) is released which when comes in contact with hot oil caramelises quickly. It gives a thin delicate crust that’s quickly softened by the interior’s moisture.
The crispiness is a result of treating potato starch wisely.
The first step is cutting and rinsing the potato strips to wash off all the excess starch from the surface. Then we parboil them and the starch gradually absorbs water. This swells the starch and gelatinizes it. This is how we get fluffy fries which are cooked through.
Frozen fries often result in an excellent outcome. Because they have been treated with a pre-process of cleaning, steaming, frying and freezing. Yes, you read it right, frozen fries are also fried (at a low degree) once before they are packed. My method of making perfect fries is influenced by the same method, but I have eased it out a little to avoid too much work.
My steps involve cutting the potatoes into strips, washing them under running water, blanch them for 3-4 minutes.
Then I scatter them on kitchen cloths so most of the moisture is soaked. Then I freeze them for later use.
To freeze – Spread fries out in one even layer in a tray. Place in the freezer for an hour. Transfer partially frozen spuds to a freezer-safe bag and store in the freezer for later use. You can freeze a big batch of fries and use as and when required.
Whenever I wish to fry the fries, I thaw them for 30 minutes or so. Then double fry them.
How to double fry – Heat a few inches of oil in a heavy pot to a lower temperature, around 300 degrees F. FreshDcart Kitchen Digital LCD Thermometer Cooking Food Meat Probe BBQ Liquid Temperature Test Pen, Instant Read In 3 or 4 batches, cook the frozen potatoes until soft, 4 to 5 minutes per batch. Making sure not to brown them at this point, the first fry at a lower heat, just to starts the cooking process. Remove each batch and drain on dry paper towels.
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Once all the potatoes have been fried at 300 degrees F, turn up the heat until the oil reaches 400 degrees F (crust-forming heat). When the oil’s hot, start frying the potatoes in batches again, cooking until the fries are golden and crisp.
Remove the potatoes from the oil and drain on paper towels. The fries at the end are so desiccated they have an amazing crispy texture, with a fluffy interior – making them arguably the finest fries to wow.
If frying is a concern, you can choose to bake the fries with less oil. Potato wedges, sweet potato fries and baby potatoes when baked dressed in herbs, garlic and oil are phenomenal. Or Air fryer is a beautiful piece of equipment, which is of great use if you are conscious about your oil consumption and yet want to enjoy all the possible foods. SToK Digital Air Fryer 4 Liter 1500-Watt with Smart Rapid 3D Air Technology with Free Double Layer Grill (RED)
To bake – Place the potato on a baking sheet and drizzle them with some oil. Sprinkle the garlic powder, onion powder, herbs, salt and pepper on top. Naturevibe Botanicals Peri Peri Masala Powder- 130gm | Seasoning | Adds Flavor Bake for almost 30 minutes and try tossing them once or twice in the middle of baking time for even colour. Ajnala Cheddar Cheese Powder in Shaker Jar Perfect for Pop-Corn, Making Cheese Sauce for Nachos, Sprinkling on French Fries ( Available in 100gm, 200gm, 500gm & 1kg ) (100)
You can also lightly dust some cornstarch on the fries before baking or frying. It helps in the extra crispy outer layer.
Do you know Burger King’s French fries (and probably McDonald’s too) are sprayed with a sugar solution just before being packaged and shipped to the various franchise locations? This produces the golden colour through the caramelization of the sugar when it is fried.
To reheat – In the unlikely event of leftover fries, you can reheat the fries by preheating your oven to 400*F and placing an empty baking sheet in the oven while the oven preheats. Spread the leftover fries in a single layer on the hot pan, then pop the pan into the preheated oven for 5 to 8 minutes. Watch the fries carefully the last few minutes to make sure they do not burn.
Popular condiments to dip French fries in varies quite a bit from country to country. In America, ketchup is typically the dip of choice for French fries. In certain parts of Europe, mayonnaise is king. The British tend to flavour the dressing with some amount of malt vinegar for dipping their fries. The French themselves tend to just eat the fries straight.
Belgians, who are the world’s connoisseurs when it comes to French fries, occasionally serve French fries with egg as a topping. The raw egg is cracked over the French fries immediately after the fries have been pulled from the fryer. This tends to mostly cook the egg, but leaves the yoke somewhat runny for dipping the fries in.
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