Potato wedges. Picture: Supplied
Potato wedges. Picture: Supplied

Tricks and tips in making delicious fries at home

By Lutho Pasiya Time of article published Mar 23, 2020

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Homemade fries can be delicious if cooked the right way. 

We spoke to Founder of GlamFoodie, Charmaine Ramalope and Head chef of BON Hotel Waterfront Richards Bay, Nonhlanhla Mabaso who shared a few tips on how one can go about choosing the right potatoes and cooking delicious and crunchy fries at home. 

Mabaso said bake potatoes (large potatoes) make the best fries. Mabaso said these are the go-to potatoes that generally cook well.  

“Just make sure that the potatoes have not been in bags for too long that sprouts have started popping out. These potatoes give you a good length of chips and give you an excellent combination of crispiness on the outside and soft on the inside of the chip,” she said. 

Ramalope said for her it has to be Russet potatoes because they have a high starch content and are best to use for making chips because they have the least amount of moisture.

“It’s best to avoid waxy potatoes as they have a higher water content which does not work well for frying. Most supermarkets have their potato packets labeled which make it easier to know which ones to use,” she said. 

Steak French fries. Picture: Supplied

The tricks and tips in making delicious fries

Ramalope’s tips

The secret to making crispy fries is to fry them at least twice - the first fry should be at a low temperature to cook the potato on the inside and the second fry is to crisp them up. 

Make sure you use oil with a high smoke point such as canola or peanut oil.

To prevent the outside of the fries from getting too brown before the inside cooks all the way through, place the cut potatoes in cold water in the fridge for about twenty minutes before frying. 

Rinse the potatoes well so there is no excess starch and pat dry well before frying this ensures there’s no oil spatter. 

Mabaso’s tips

Generous wash in cold water. Once you have cut your potatoes in the shape of a chip, you need to wash them. Lots of water and where possible soak in water for about five minutes.

Once removed from the water, pat dry with a kitchen towel.

Preheat the deep fryer to 165°C. First cook for about five to seven minutes and leave to cook for about ten minutes. Then pre-heat the oil to 170°C and deep-fry about ten minutes until light brown and crispy on the outside.

Remove and drip as much oil as possible, turn the chips over on to a kitchen towel-lined container, season with salt, (and vinegar, for some), and enjoy immediately. 

When it comes to French fries there are different types in all shapes and sizes that you can put the above tips on when cooking them. Locally, the most popular fries are the potato wedges which are chunky and contain a lot of potato filling. There are also steak fries that have a crunchy and nicer taste, and we also have the standard fries, which are a classic choice. 

The Grill Jichana Bafana Chips. Picture: Supplied

Speaking of different kinds of fries, we spoke to executive chef at Southern Sun Elangeni and Maharani, Shaun Munro who shared with us the creation of one of their unique fries called The Grill Jichana Bafana Chips, which also happen to be very much popular with the restaurant. 

Munro said their famous thick-cut triple cooked Bafana potato chips at Grill Jichana were specifically engineered to create an outstanding accompaniment to a great steak. 

He said these extra-large potatoes are hand peeled before being cut into the signature thick fat fingers, then they steam them for ten to fifteen minutes until just cooked before they chill in the freezer for one hour (to stop any further ‘cooking’ and prevent them from turning to mash). 

Munro added that once cooled they fry in 150°C oil (medium to low heat) for eight minutes which creates a light golden colour and a light fine crisp skin, then again back into the freezer (and again to stop any further ‘cooking’ and prevent them from turning to mash). 

He also said that when ready to serve they fry a second time in hot 200°C oil until golden brown and crispy, then carefully remove the thick chips from the hot oil and drain on a paper towel, then they season well with their house fries seasoning or you can use a quality fine salt before serving. 

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