Hand-Cooked Potato Chips
Approx cost: €0.50
Approx calories (per 25g serving): ~160
Approx preparation time: 50 minutes
I’ve never been a huge fan of deep frying. The idea of a giant cauldron of boiling oil which would quite literally melt your flesh away if spilled brewing away on the stove terrifies me. That said, it’s an important method of food preparation and many things just couldn’t be cooked correctly without it. For one example, I’ve been seeing a lot of falafel recipes recently. I’ve tried this before… shallow-frying it of course. Let’s just say, “disaster” doesn’t really come close to describing the crumbled, mushy chick-pea balls that it yielded. I’ve been broadening my culinary horizons somewhat recently by trying a bit more deep-frying and to be frank, now, I don’t find it so bad. Take some precautions – have a fire blanket on hand should the worst happen, turn the pan handle towards the back of the stove to prevent knocking it off, and most importantly, once you’ve put the oil on the heat, treat it like an infant. Don’t leave it alone, not for a second. Give it 100% of your attention – and aside from that it’s really pretty simple, not to mention fun!
Few things require so few ingredients yet yield such impressive results. Home-made potato chips are one of them. Sure, we’ve all read these guides on how to make potato chips in a microwave, but to be honest, you can only make about 8 chips at a time, and the results are… often less than satisfactory. When I bite into a hand-cooked, golden brown, lightly salted, crispy potato chip I get an enormous amount of satisfaction. Sure it takes longer than going to the store and buying a job lot of the damn things for next to nothing, but where’s the fun in that?
I’ve extolled the virtues many times of mandolines. If you don’t have one, seriously – please get one. For certain things, it has to be just the most useful thing in the entire kitchen, and besides, without one you won’t be making potato chips in the same shape as these Have a crispy-licious day!
For the Potato Chips
- Potatoes (2 large potatoes is usually sufficient for 2 people)
- 1 Bottle of Frying Oil (although similar results can be achieved with regular sunflower oil)
For the flavouring
- 0.5 tsp ground Cumin
- 0.5 tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 0.5 tsp Black Pepper
- 1 tsp ground Paprika
You’ll also need
- A Mandoline
- Start by peeling the potatoes and then slice them very, very finely. For best results, using a mandoline and if you want to be a bit “fancy”, use the lattice attachment, pulling the potato down the blade first one way, then rotating 90 degrees and cutting again. This will result in having little “windows”, as shown below, in the potato slice. If you want to be more traditional just slice them whole as normal. If using a mandoline you’ll need to have the cut thickness set to almost minimum.
- Once all the potatoes are sliced, place all the slices into a large basin of water at room temperature. Mix with your hands and allow each slice to have good water coverage. Pour the water away and place the slices on a towel or kitchen roll to dry. Washing the potato in water will help remove excess starch and allow better cooking results.
- While the potato slices are drying prepare the flavouring (if desired). Salt is quite important for the chips, so at the very least try and add this. I’ve mixed the salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, cumin and paprika together in a bowl, though if you want to try alternative flavours then this is easily done! Mix the flavouring well and set aside.
- Now we come to the “fun” part. Empty the bottle of oil into a saucepan so that the pan is roughly half full in total. Place onto a hot stove and begin to heat the oil through. Depending on the type of stove you have it may take a while to heat up. My stove can take upwards of 5 minutes to decently heat the pan – I like to test it with one of the slices of potato. If you put it in and it starts to sizzle aggressively around the potato then it’s pretty much ready. Start frying your potato chips, a small handful at a time. Fry them until they’re starting to turn golden brown. Too little and they’ll be soggy and soft, too much and the sugars inside the potato will start to scorch and your chips will turn too brown too fast so you have to gauge this part well.
- After each batch, remove the potato chips from the oil using a slotted spoon and transfer to some kitchen roll or paper napkins, set on top of a baking tray, to allow excess oil to be soaked up. Arrange the chips evenly on the paper to allow each one to drain equally and when all the potato chips have been cooked sprinkle the flavouring over the chips. Give the tray a gentle shake to evenly distribute the flavouring spices.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and eat! Alternatively, if you have a lot of chips, you can store them in an airtight container for a couple of days for later snackiness! Enjoy!