Making perfect homemade chips: my first attempt
I love chips. When I see these crispy potato sticks, smell their scent fresh from the deep fryer and finally have them on a plate in front of me, I feel pure bliss. I could eat chip at any time of day – preferably with mayonnaise and ketchup. But I'm not easy to please. I don't like oven fries. I’m also not a fan of wedges or country cuts. The perfect chips, in my opinion, are thin, fluffy in the middle and crisp on the outside. Yes, I like skinny chips. Too thick, too firm or too soggy and I won’t enjoy them. Unfortunately, I’m often served chips that aren’t great. That's why I’ve decided to prepare the perfect chips myself.
Potatoes, frying oil and off we go
I keep things simple for my first attempt. I cut the potatoes, place them in water for a short while and deep-fry them. That's it. I want to know how good fries can be without making a big effort. I don't need much for my project. The deep fryer and the potato chipper are ready. Only the potatoes and the oil are missing. I read that waxy potatoes are the best choice for homemade chips. They’re supposed to turn out nice and creamy on the inside and crisp on the outside. Starchy potatoes, on the other hand, are said to produce chips that are much fluffier in the middle and still crispy on the outside. Although I prefer the fluffy version, I try both types of potatoes. I choose High Oleic sunflower oil to fry my chips, which can be heated up to 190 degrees Celsius and is said to be good for deep-frying. In general, neutral-tasting oils with a high smoke point, such as rapeseed, sunflower or peanut oil, are ideal for chips.
That's all the ingredients and utensils I need to make perfect homemade chips. Hopefully The waxy and starchy potatoes go into the potato chipper one after the other. I use the small attachment, which turns the potatoes into 7 mm thick chips. There's also a 9 mm attachment, but I save this in case the thinner one doesn't work. Once I've cut the potatoes, they go into a cold-water bath for a short while. Why? This washes out the starch and makes sure they don't go brown on the outside. Then I dry the sticks with kitchen paper. Now they're ready for their hot oil bath.
Let’s fry and taste them
I heated up the deep fryer to 170 degrees Celsius. I find it fascinating how differently water and oil behave at such temperatures. While water would boil, bubble and splash, oil doesn’t move at all. I open the lid of the deep fryer and smell the hot frying oil. It reminds me of my childhood and skiing. Well, lunch breaks in skiing resorts – bratwurst with onion gravy and chips. Lunch alone was worth all the hard work in the snow.
I start with the waxy potatoes. I put the sliced and washed potato sticks into the deep-frying basket and lower it into the hot oil. The fat sizzles loudly – I love this sound. The smell of fried chips makes my mouth water. After about seven and a half minutes, I remove the chips from the deep fryer. They look very tasty. They’ve turned brownish, but I like that. As I drain them, I can tell that they're rather limp. When I put them on a few sheets of kitchen paper, this suspicion is confirmed: only the ones with skin on them have turned out crispy. Do they taste nice? Yes! I’m surprised. They definitely taste of homemade fried potatoes. These are pretty decent chips. But nowhere near perfect.
Now I repeat the same process with starchy potatoes. Cut, wash, dry, deep-fry, drain and enjoy. After seven and a half minutes at 170 degrees Celsius, I release them from their hot bath. This time, my chips don’t look as brown as the ones made with waxy potatoes did. Was seven and a half minutes not long enough? Or should I have fried the waxy potatoes shorter? When I place them on a sheet of kitchen paper, I notice that they’re crispier than my last batch. Do they taste nice? The waxy fries had a stronger taste. I preferred them. I guess this is a start: I’m looking for chips that are as crisp as the ones made with starchy potatoes and as tasty as the ones made with waxy potatoes.
My verdict: there’s room to improve
If I'm honest, I'm surprised by the first two plates of homemade chips – in a good way. I never thought that my shot in the dark would result in such decent chips. The waxy potatoes tasted great, while the starchy ones came out crispier. But considering the effort – all I did was cut, wash, dry and fry them – I'm pleased with the result. Yet, they're both far from perfect. So what can I do to make them crispier? After all, that's what I love so much about these fatty potato sticks: the sound when I bite into a hot chip.
My research has revealed that deep-frying them twice is supposed to make them super crispy. I’ll give that a go. Anything else I need to know? Thanks for sharing your tricks in the comment section. Want to know what else will happen on my quest to find the perfect homemade chips? Follow me by clicking the «Follow author» button on my profile.