The perfect hot chip is a delightful balance of flavours and textures. It boasts a crisp, golden-brown exterior that shatters with a satisfying crunch on your first bite. Beneath this enticing exterior lies a tender, fluffy interior, almost creamy in texture. Seasoned just right with a touch of salt, it’s a harmonious blend of simplicity and indulgence.
Achieving that perfect bite at home can be tricky; homemade chips often end up sad and soggy. But, once you’ve mastered the art of cooking homemade chips, you’ll ditch store-bought versions for good.
Best potatoes for homemade chips
The key to the perfect chip is to use a floury potato. The best variety is Russet Burbank, which is both floury and quite large, giving you the biggest chips. Russet potatoes also have a relatively high starch content and high density, which means the oil won’t penetrate too deeply and make the chips soggy. If the Russet Burbank isn’t available, Yukon Gold, Sebago, Kennebec, Shepody or Coliban are good alternatives.
Ensure each potato is cut into evenly sized, uniform pieces. Many chefs recommend large 1cm x 1cm x 10cm sticks.
If your chips are different in size and thickness, you’ll likely end up with some burnt and some undercooked. Even sizes means evenly cooked chips with a crispy outer shell and a soft and fluffy centre.
Soak the potatoes first
If you are frying your chips, it’s recommended that you soak them first. Simply submerge the cut potatoes in a bowl of cold water for 20 to 30 minutes. After soaking, be sure to drain and thoroughly pat dry the potato sticks with paper towels before frying them. This extra effort will contribute to achieving perfectly crispy and evenly cooked homemade chips.
If you prefer to bake your chips, parboil the potato sticks in salted boiling water for around five minutes instead. Parboiling helps make the chips crispy and means a shorter cooking time.
The best oil to make chips
Don’t reach for the trusty olive oil just yet. You need a light, neutral oil with a high smoke point such as vegetable or canola oil. However, if you like the flavour, dripping or goose fat are also great options.
Cooking chips in an air fryer
Using an air fryer or your oven to bake your chips is healthier than frying in a lot of oil, and you can still achieve tasty, crispy chips.
Drizzle the potato sticks with some oil and place them in a single layer in the air fryer basket or on an oven tray. Cook for 15-20 minutes, flipping them halfway through, until golden and crispy. Once done, remove them from the air fryer or oven and season them immediately while they are still hot.
Frying chips in a pan
Not many people have deep-fat fryers in their homes anymore. But you can use a large pan instead. Here are eight tips to fry your chips:
Choose the right pan: Use a deep, heavy-bottomed pan with high sides. A cast-iron skillet or a Dutch oven works well for deep frying as it retains heat effectively and provides stability.
Fill the pan properly: Fill the pan with enough oil to fully submerge the food, but don’t overfill. Leave some space at the top to prevent overflow when you add the food.
Preheat the oil: Heat the oil slowly over medium to medium-high heat until it reaches the desired frying temperature, typically 175°C to 190°C.
Use a thermometer: Invest in a deep-fry or candy thermometer to monitor the oil temperature accurately. Maintaining a consistent temperature is crucial for achieving perfectly fried food.
Dry food thoroughly: Before frying, pat the food dry with paper towels. Removing excess moisture will help prevent spitting.
Fry in batches: Avoid overcrowding the pan. Fry in small batches to maintain the oil temperature and ensure even cooking.
Season immediately: Season your fried foods immediately after removing them from the oil while they are still hot. This helps the seasoning adhere better.
Drain excess oil: Place the fried food on a paper towel-lined plate or a wire rack to allow excess oil to drain away.
How to season your homemade chips
The best seasoning largely depends on your personal preferences, but here are some popular options to consider:
- Classic salt and pepper: Simple and timeless, a sprinkle of sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper enhances the natural potato flavour.
- Garlic and herb: Garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme and rosemary can add a savoury, aromatic twist to your chips.
- Cajun spice: A Cajun seasoning blend provides a spicy and smoky kick to your chips, perfect for those who enjoy a bit of heat.
- Parmesan and herbs: Grate some fresh Parmesan cheese, chop some fresh herbs and toss it all together with your chips for a gourmet touch.
- Truffle oil and Parmesan: For a luxurious treat, drizzle truffle oil over your chips and finish with grated Parmesan cheese. This combination offers a rich, earthy flavour.
Do you make chips at home? What’s your method? Let us know in the comments section below.
Also read: Craving chips is not your fault