The ultimate Friday luxury to me is a cold drink and homemade potato chips. The only problem is: How to get the potato chips crispy?
I have made potato chips a few times in my life, but I have always found it difficult to get them crispy. So I had to do a little research, consulting various food blogs and cook books. And frying a whole lot of potatoes. Some recipes give little advice on how to make the potato chips. Some say you have to parboil the potatoes first. Many recipes will state that you have to soak the potatoes in water to get rid of the starch, while a few, namely Andreas Viestad states the opposite. In my experience Viestad is correct. There is no need to soak the potatoes nor parboil them. The most important thing is the temperature when deep-frying.
One of the best things about making your own chips is the freedom to try other vegetables such as beets or sweet potatoes and the freedom to make your own spice mix. I love Cajun food, so here I make a spicy Cajun seasoning to give your potatoes a little kick. Whatever spice mix you use, Cajun or salt only, season immediately after frying as it will better cling to the chips.
Cajun spice mix:
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp sweet paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
If using whole peppercorns, grind them first. Also grind the oregano and thyme. Combine all spices and store in an airtight container for up to three months.
How to make potato chips
1. You do not need special equipment like deep-fryers when deep-frying, a pan will do. A mandoline slicer is neat but unless you want to make potato chips on a regular basis, it is not necessary. A cheese slicer will do the job too, preferably one cutting not too thinly. Never use olive oil but cooking oil that can stand high heat e.g. peanut, sunflower or rapeseed oil.
2. The key to getting the potatoes crispy is frying them on medium heat. If the oil is too hot, the potato will burn. If the oil is too cold, the potatoes will never get crispy or change colour. With the right temperature you are able to fry the potatoes long enough until they are crispy – this happens when they almost stop sizzling! Always fry one potato slice first to check the temperature of the oil.
3. Fry in batches as too much potato slices will lower the temperature. The whole process should take about 5-7 minutes, enough to make the potatoes golden and crispy.
4. Immediately when finished, leave the potato chips on a paper to absorb the oil and sprinkle with the Cajun spice mix.
Safety rules when deep-frying
1. Always use the rear cooking zone of the cooktop in case the pan should tilt.
2. Fill the pan half way up or less with oil because the oil will bubble and rise during frying.
3. Keep the lid close by. Never use water in case of fire – use the lid.
4. Keep water away from the pan and do not fry vegetables with remains of water. Water will cause the oil to splutter.
5. Never leave the pan unattended when deep-frying.
6. Keep children and others out of the kitchen.