If you want to impress kids at mealtimes, you can’t go wrong with chips. The fast version for eating at home is oven chips – which, unfortunately, are often full of flavour enhancers. I therefore started making my own chips at home with my son. It’s not difficult, just a little time-consuming – at least if you follow the instructions of professional chefs. In my case, I chose Freddy Christandl, top chef and an expert when it comes to potatoes. The key to crispy chips is leaving them to stand between the individual steps. You wash the raw potatoes, deep-fry them at a low heat, then fry them again at a higher temperature. And let them rest in between, for half an hour or even an hour. If you follow these steps, your chips will be just as crispy as those from McDonald’s and other places. Here’s the method in detail:
1. Peel the potatoes and cut them into sticks about 7 millimetres thick – of course the kids can help with this part as well.
2. Soak the sticks in water for half an hour. Then pat them dry with a tea towel and let them air-dry for half an hour.
3. Heat two litres of peanut oil to 160 degrees. I don’t have a deep-fat fryer so I use a thermometer and a cast iron pot. Then fry the sticks for 4 to 5 minutes (in the professional lingo, this step is called blanching). Drip-dry the sticks on some kitchen roll and pat them dry. Leave to cool for an hour.
4. And now we get to the step that gives the chips their crispy outside: Fry them again at 180 to 190 degrees, for about 4 to 5 minutes. Drip-dry them on some kitchen roll, add salt
and serve them immediately.
I got some advice for the perfect chips from top chef and potato expert Freddy Christandl (www.bergkartoffeln.ch). He also offers the following tips:
1. If you use a classic potato variety, choose either the Desiree or Agria variety (both have a floury texture when cooked). The old King Edward is a suitable candidate from the
mountain potato varieties.
2. Instead of peanut oil you can also use beef fat to make your chips even crispier.
3. Never add too many chips to the oil at the same during the frying process. This cools down the oil and your chips will be less crispy.
4. The chips can also be frozen after the first frying process (blanching). Simply pat them dry and wrap them up. They can then be taken straight from the freezer and placed in the oil at 180 to 190 degrees for the second frying process. This second process will simply take a few minutes longer.