Monday, 2 May 2011

French Fries

My friend P, resident kitchen goddess, is an unexpected mall-rat, for an Indian of her generation. She shops at malls, slugs Diet Coke, thinks Hershey's is awesome, and absolutely worships at the altar of McDonald's french fries.

I've no problem with the rest, since I dislike aerated drinks, get my clothes made by my tailor, and prefer Cadbury's India over every other kind, but I have a problem the size of an elephant with her adoration for McDonald's. To put it crisply, McDonald's is damp. Not their fries -- those, in fact, are on the burnt side of fried -- but their gastronomic appeal. That is about as appetising as a wet dishrag.

And, for wet dishrags, they cost the earth.

This is not to say I didn't help myself to her fries -- we used to call them finger-chips -- because I did, but that is because I will eat all unguarded fried potato in my vicinity. And she had carelessly dumped her takeaway bag on my lap. However, *this* is how one makes real, honest-to-goodness, utterly delicious, succulent-inside-crispy-mmm!-outside fried potatoes. And keeps the change for the piggy bank.

You need:
Potatoes, boiled till just soft.
Salt, pepper, seasoning of choice.

First, you put the boiled potatoes in the fridge. Yes. Let them firm up a bit before you land them in hot oil. Prevents disintegration. Then chop them in pieces about half a cm thick, because these should hold shape and not go gooey. Sprinkle a little salt and seasonings of your choice.

I used turmeric and red chili powder, because they were righ in front of me, and also because they go into traditional 'alubhaja' -- fried potatoes, our style. 

Then I heated about two cups of oil -- you need to deep-fry these -- and dropped the pieces in, ONE AT A TIME. And not more than twelve or fifteen pieces in each batch. Now, you could fry a great many more together if you used a broad-based skillet or frying pan instead of a wok, but the deep wok is the way to go. You can get the lovely deep-fried effect with a lot less oil, because a wok has considerably less square cms than a broad, flat frying pan. Go with the wok.


Result, with my father's mint chutney on the side.

Next, I'm taking on their spicy fried chicken burger. But only after I return from North Bengal. So long, folks!


panu said...

this is of course good. but can you beat the preservative coated, heavily salted alubhaja from McD?? I mean, I know how bad it is for me. But guess what? I actually LIKE diet coke, shop EVERYWHERE, and drool over the Mexican Wrap that McDee has offered recently. Of course, it also means I adore telebhaja, dilkhusha too. All is food, right?

Rimi said...

Honey, this isn't an equitable democracy thing. Or a healthy eating thing. It's a subjective-taste discriminatory judgement thing. I despise McD chips. And I think these beat those hollow. End of story.

These, in fact, are like the french fries from S&S, that I loved. I'm very proud of me.

Sue said...

I've never liked McD fries.

One of the very few things I cooked as a student living on my own was finger chips. Used to chop lots and keep them in salt water for up to a week (max) in the fridge, instead of boiling.

Daisy said...

Hot tip -

Boil the potatoes with salt. Parboiling is better, since then, the salt will not make them too soft.

While you chop and season them, add a pinch of cornflour too, to coat the potatoes eve so slightly. So that, when you deep-fry them in the kora (and nothing else but the kora), they will have this nice, crisp, outer coating, while retaining the soft, succulent juiciness of the french fry, inside!

Dea-chan said...

Oh nom nom Rimi! I love fried potatoes too, and would do the same nomming of someone else's McD's fries even though they're terrible.


A lovely tutorial on part of my project, just for you!

panu said...

I cook. And I eat. Because I like it. And not because I want to prove a point.

sumana001 said...

You in North Bengal? I live in Siliguri - I'll make you french fries, come visit me!

Rimi said...

Ish, too late! Aaj was our free day, before a four-day packed schedule and back. But we do have work often at Siliguri -- drop me an email so we can work on future french-fries? :-)

sumana001 said...

Email id kothaye? I'll be away in Berlin and London till June from next week. Tarpawr, okay? I'll make you Nepali aalu aachar, the local pahari version of french fries! French, bawtey! :)

Rimi said...

Email: Get in touch, you globe trotter you :-)