Fresh Fries The Easy Way
Its quite simple to make your own healthy fresh cut fries. Using vegetable oil is healthier than beef tallow with a dash of MSG, which is what many chip wagons use, sure they are delicious, but definitely NOT a healthy snack. There are new fryers on the market and chips can be made healthier with a few tips.
Making chips from scratch can be a challenge, so most of us capitulate and use frozen ones which cook in the oven. If you do want to try deep fried chips, one of the most important choices you will make is what to cook them in. Many “healthy” deep fryers are now available on the market, some of which claim to need less oil. I use a mini-deep fryer, and sunflower oil. Other vegetable oils can be substituted, but avoid palm oil, which is high in saturated fats, and olive oil, which will smoke long before the right temperature is reached. Safflower oil, peanut oil and canola oil can all be used. I prefer sunflower oil because it is light and high in polyunsaturated fats, which are actually good for you. If you choose one with added Omega-3 fatty acids its even healthier.
The ads on TV make cutting up potatoes look like a real chore, but it really isn’t. If you want to be really health you can even avoid peeling them, they are delicious with the skins on, and it adds fibre to your diet. If you do go this route scrub the whole potatoes well, and dry them before slicing. You can slice them with a chip slicer, an easy slicer, or just a sharp knife. Cut lengthwise first and then across to make the classic chip shape. Of course you can make medallions or slices if you prefer. After slicing rinse several times in very cold water to remove excess starch. Dry the fries well with paper towels or they will cause the oil to “spit”.
Place in the basket of the fryer and cook in the hot setting (or fry setting if it has one) for about 8 minutes, or until light brown, remove from oil and drain. Return to oil and cook until they are your preferred done-ness. For extra crispy fries, return them to the oil for a third time for about a minute. Lift the basket and let it drain for about a minute, remove and shake in paper towels to remove excess oil.
Place the fries in a bowl lined with paper towels and add salt – lightly if you are health conscious! – to taste.
You can substitute sweet potatoes for a healthier high fiber snack, or frozen fries of either variety. If using frozen fries add them to the oil carefully, and cook for only 3 minutes for the first stage.
After frying, turn off the fryer immediately. When the oil is cool strain through a clean coffee filter and keep in the refrigerator until next use. If the oil discolors or smells “off” add some activated charcoal chips to the filter before filtering, this will remove color and odor.
Warning: - Many house fires are caused by cooking oil left on the stove, if you use a saucepan full of hot oil instead of a fryer, NEVER leave the hot oil unattended!