French Fries Without Deep Frying

15 Dec

If you love French fries but avoid them for health’s sake, here’s a way to prepare them without deep frying. The result is spectacular!

French Fries without Deep-Frying

You Need:

  • Potatoes – 3 or so: don’t take too many, else what’s the use if you’re cutting down on fat but loading up on the carbs?
  • Pot for boiling – 1
  • Colander – 1: you can do without this, if you know the art of draining out water from boiled solids without using a strainer
  • Wide non-stick pan – 1: you cannot do without this, a regular kadhai won’t work
  • Oil  -  the tiniest bit
For the seasoning (vary as you wish):
  • Cumin seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Red chili flakes – 1
  • Black pepper corns – 6
  • Lime juice – 1 teaspoon
  • Salt – to taste

How To Make French Fries Without Deep Frying:

Wash the potatoes clean. You can leave them unpeeled if you like (I peel the potatoes if the skin is thick, else let the skin remain).

Cut raw potatoes into fingers or wedges. 

How to cut a potato into wedges? Slice the potato in half vertically. With each potato-half flat side down, use the knife at angles to make radial cuts down towards the center.

From a potato-half 3 inches long and 1.5 inch high at its center, you’d get 5-6 wedges.

Potato Peeled

Boil potato wedges in salted water till 3/4th done (when pricked, the knife should go through but not too smoothly). Turn the boiled potato wedges over in a colander. Run cold water over them, then drain completely.

Potato Wedges, Boiled

In a non-stick pan, heat as little oil as you want. Remember at this stage the Thumb Rule of Cooking: the lesser the oil, the longer the cooking time, the greater the chances of food getting burnt, therefore the more the attention you need to pay to the dish.

Put in the potato wedges and toss so that they are coated with oil. Spread the wedges around the pan in a single layer. Keep the heat medium-low and cook for 5 minutes undisturbed. For the next 5 minutes, toss the pan occasionally. By this point the potatoes would have started to turn golden – it is time to keep a watchful eye on the side facing heat-wards. You need to make sure that the potato wedges roast evenly and there’s no charring. Move the wedges around the pan so that the fat ones sit near the source of the heat longer than the thinner ones. Check that all sides are cooked, use tongs or a spatula to gently turn the wedges over.

Potato Wedges, Roasting

After about 20 minutes, our healthy French "fries" would be crisp and golden – as good as deep fried without the deep frying!

Now for the seasoning. I’m sharing here my favorite – you can vary it as you like.

Spice it up!

Dry-Roasted Spices[Prepare the seasoning while or before the French fries are getting cooked, not after. The seasoning should be ready to sprinkle on the fries when they are right off the fire.]

On a tava or skillet, dry roast cumin seeds and black pepper corns on low heat till the cumin seeds turn a shade darker and give out aromatic fumes – this would take about 2mins. Keep stirring regularly so that the cumin seeds do not burn.

Add red chili flakes next and continue to dry roast for another minute.

Take the roasted spices off the fire, let cool slightly and then using a mortar and pestle (or a rolling pin and a flat surface), crush the spices into a coarse powder.

Sprinkle salt, freshly roasted and crushed spices over the crisp French fries, squeeze some lime juice and toss.

Potato Wedges, Seasoned

Snack time: healthy French "fries" with a hot cup of chai.

French Fries Without Deep Frying

Notes:

  1. Keep yourself occupied with something else when you’re making no-deep-fry fries or you might run out of patience. The roasting needs almost-nil effort from you but it does need alertness and time. Pair making this with a chat with a friend, or cooking a second dish alongside.
  2. Baking is said to be another good alternative for French fries, which I haven’t tried. Have you?

6 Responses to “French Fries Without Deep Frying”

  1. Sailaja April 6, 2011 at 9:37 PM #

    Baking the potato wedges also gives a crisp exterior. Just need to cover the baking tray with aluminum foil and spray some olive oil so that the wedges do not stick to the tray. I tried a number of seasonings. Dried pudina/mint works great. I also like crushed garlic/paprika seasoning.

  2. S April 6, 2011 at 11:55 PM #

    Thanks for those tips Sailaja. Will give it a try.

  3. Lavanya May 28, 2016 at 5:41 AM #

    hi there, broiling the wedges also gives just the same results (crispy exterior and a soft interior).. you can do the parboiling on stovetop, strain the wedges, spread it on a baking sheet/pan (i used my nonstick pizza pan!), and place it in your electric range.. you can broil them in a pre-heated oven for 7-10 mins.. the tray must be kept closer to the broiler rod (about 3-4 inches away). keep checking and then take the pan out when it begins to brown.. this is comparitively easier and consumes lesser time.. you can do the seasoning either before or after broiling.. let me know how it works :-)

    • S May 28, 2016 at 5:00 PM #

      Thanks for the suggestion, Lavanya!

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    […] The recipes are mostly Indian, which means “hello, tastebuds!”, and we’re particularly fond of the Ultimate Chapati Cheat Sheet and a how-to on making French Fries without frying. […]

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