The popularity of French fries is only growing with each passing year. They are essentially potatoes cut in long and thin strips which are deep-fried until crispy and seasoned with salt, herbs and spices as per liking. It is served with dip or sauce of your choice. The origin of this lip-smacking delight has often been debated and it’s not easy to establish where these crispy snacks were first made and served. As per reports, the delicacy may have originated from Belgium instead of France. (Also read: National French Fries Day 2023: 5 unique homemade fries recipes to try at home)
As per a story published in BBC, this modern-day fast food made a debut in the year 1680 in Namur in francophone Belgium, where the locals were particularly fond of fried fish. However, during a cold winter, the River Meuse froze and the locals were deprived of their favourite dish. So, they cut potatoes and fried them instead of the small fish and this is how fries were born. It is said that American soldiers who were stationed in the francophone region during the time of World War I, started calling this dish ‘French fries’, and that’s how the dish became popular with this name. However, many culinary experts claim this story isn’t plausible. “The fry is a daughter of street cooking. …That’s why it’s so hard to establish its birth certificate,” culinary historian Madeleine Ferrière said.
National French Fry Day was observed on July 13 every year. However, from this year onwards, the day will be observed on the second Friday in July, which means in 2023, the day is being celebrated on July 14.
On this occasion, Chef Sonia Sarpal shares tips and tricks to make the perfect French Fries with HT Digital.
Potatoes with mealy texture should be used for fries. Mealy Potatoes (Pahadi Aloo) have excess starch and low in sugar content which give a crispy result. Large, oval shaped potatoes will give you nice long French Fries.
Soak the fries in normal tap water for at least 15 minutes so that potatoes release the starch content in water only. Wash properly with water and add fresh water for another 10 minutes.
Parboil the potatoes 20% on a simmering temperature i.e 80-85°C. Drain and place on a flat tray by spreading evenly and pat dry.
Deep freeze them for 1- 1 1/2 hour. Freezing them after boiling makes them crispy and prevents from turning black.
For first frying, heat oil and fry at 130°C (medium flame). Once fried remove them on a paper towel. Once they cool down to make them crispier fry, them again at 170° C (high flame).
Garnish with salt and paprika powder and serve hot French Fries with your favourite sauce or dip.