What do you do when its raining heavily and you so want to hog on McDonald's French Fries .......... Yep ...... You just go ahead and prepare them ..... So here is ...... "Crispy Potato French Fries With Tomato Ketchup And Imli (Tamarind) Chutney as dips Along with Sliced Wild Cucumber seasoned with salt and chilli powder ...... Yumz .... Enjoy these with a good book or catch up on a great movie ......
Say french fries and instantly for most of us the picture that comes to mind is of those McDonald's french fries in that red white striped paper tub. When its raining and there is nothing much to do and you just sit there and yawn and yawn …. Ahha.... that’s when the mind starts wandering towards food and books. A good book when to be read needs some chips, wafers or french fries to get along with. And if the book is a thriller or suspense read, then you will not be aware of the fries getting emptied in no time. Bliss ….. these thoughts made me crave more for the french fries and that Jeffery Archer Book that was lying about yet to be read. A busy schedule had made me lazy to even read it. Suddenly nothing sounded better than the pouring rains outside, french fries and the book. Rest is history.
A little bit about the Deep Frying Method : Though groundnut oil is considered good for deep frying purposes specially french fires, I have used here sunflower oil which has worked fine. You may use whichever you prefer. I had always wondered before why restaurants and hoteliers or for that matter even the small roadside dhabha cooks double fry the dishes. Long back not able to curtail my curiosity I asked the cook near my home why he does that and he reluctantly told me the reason. Well may be he did not want to share the secret, but I am thankful after pondering for a few minutes he did so. It really works wonders. Double frying means frying the same ingredient twice once at lower temperature and second time at higher temperature. When you fry first at lower temperature the potatoes or whichever veggie you want to fry get cooked from within to outside and that’s actual cooking of the veggie. You remove them and leave aside for say about 5 minutes and then increase the heat of the oil and put them back again to fry at a higher temperature for a shorter duration, where in the outside part of the veggie gets crispier, evenly turning to golden brown. Remove immediately and the fried items are done crispy outside while cooked and soft within.
Ok …. So lets continue with the french fries ........ Peel of the skin of 3 large sized potatoes. Remove eyes if any or if there is any other discolored patches on the potatoes. You should use only firm white part of the potatoes. If limp, do not use them. Now slice the potatoes with a sharp stainless steel knife vertically into slabs / slices of say about 1/3 inch. Now cut these slabs / slices also vertically again into 1/3 inch strips. You should get almost even sized strips out of the potatoes. If using more potatoes see to it that once you cut each potato into strips but them in a large bowl of water and continue doing so till all the potato you intend to cut into strips are done with. This is to ensure that the potatoes do not loose the colour. By soaking the cut pieces immediately in water you can avoid them getting discolored. Rinse the potato strips / pieces under running tap water well, till almost all the whitish water goes off. That’s starch which in excess gets removed off. Add Cold water in a large bowl and add in the potato strips. Leave it aside for about 20 minutes. This is an age old method used by many for even cooking of the potatoes. It is used while preparing potato wafers too. Potatoes when put in very cold water turn up being cold. When you deep fry them this way, they do not get cooked on the outer part fast turning it crispy while the inner part remains still uncooked. This way the potatoes cook from inside to outside. Which will help them to retain their crispiness for a longer period.
Drain off the potatoes kept aside and let them dry on a clean kitchen towel. NEVER add them directly into hot oil. We do not want any accidents, do we. Remember, the oil may splatter and you may get burnt. Also never allow young children to come near the frying pan to watch or give them demo. Make them stay at least 2 feet far, if they need to learn. Precautions are always better. This is not to scare you, but to keep you all safe.
Now bring plenty of oil to smoking point in a thick bottomed kadai / deep frying vessel. Lower the heat and wait for sometime, for the heat to reduce. Say about 3-4 minutes. Add one potato piece into the oil, if it bounces back immediately or turns the potato brownish the oil is too hot, so wait for another 2 minutes. When you add in a piece of potato into the oil, it should remain at the bottom and sizzle for a few seconds … say about 3-4 seconds and then come up. That’s the right temperature of the oil for cooking the veggies. Retain this temperature throughout for frying the first round of veggies at lower temperature. Add in enough of the fries into the oil, while ensuring that you do not overcrowd the kadai. Fry stirring the potatoes often till they are cooked and done. Strain and put them on an holed plate / sieve for the excess oil to drain off. Keep a vessel below it to collect the drained oil. It may take about 5-8 minutes in all for each batch. Once all the potato strips are done. Keep them aside for 5 minutes.
Now once again heat oil in kadai to smoking point. Return the fried french fries back into the hot oil and cook for another 3-4 minutes until they turn golden brown in colour and are crispy. Remove and put them on an absorbent paper for the excess oil to drain off. Repeat with all the fries from 1st round and keep them all ready in a bowl. Sprinkle some salt and pepper or powdered spices / chaat masala if desired and serve immediately.