Did you ever realise that the addictive French fry had a history rooted in cuisine?
“A French fry (pommes de terre frits) was made popular because it was always used as the traditional accompaniment served alongside roasted/grilled/fried dishes. In fact, a variant of the French fry can be found in every European country.
What makes French fries different, is that potatoes are cut into perfectly sized Batons (a French vegetable cut). These are then deep fried and salted. It became a popular term when the term became popular after the World War I,” explains Chef Sandeep Namboodiry.
Who can resist a well-done plate of fries? Not us! But as much as we love them, French fries are basically deep-fried potatoes and completely unhealthy. With calorific values that start at 400 calories and more than 500 mg of sodium as well, they are not just fattening but blood-pressure inducing as well. So do you give up on them forever? NO. You find an organic way to eat them, satisfy your taste buds and stay healthy too!
Sweet, sweet potato!
You know what’s a great substitute for the potato? The sweet potato, surprisingly not related to the potato. Far more nutritious and energy-rich, sweet potato offers relatively fewer calories and carbs, as well as more fibre than potato. Sweet potato also has a lower glycemic index than potato.
Early research has shown that an extract from the white sweet potatoes called caiapo has been shown to improve many markers of metabolic disease; in fact, in Japan, locals commonly eat white sweet potatoes raw as treatment for anaemia, hypertension and diabetes.
Sweet potatoes are practically Vitamin A-rich superstars! Agrees Chef Sandeep, “Sweet potato is very rich in Vitamin A and C. Being sweet, it also has seven times the sugar content.” But these tubers are also rich in Vitamins E and K, folate, niacin, calcium, copper, iron, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, manganese and magnesium. Sweet potatoes are also rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals, leading to better immune system, controlling inflammation and fighting cancerous growths.
Fun fact: The happy veggie! Sweet potatoes have trace amounts of temazepam and diazepam, as well as L-tyrosine, which are ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitters. This veggie also contains L-tryptophan, the raw material for serotonin, which calms us and boosts our mood. No wonder eating them makes us joyful!
Stop getting fried. Get baked!
The simplest way to eliminate a bunch of calories is by removing the vat of oil involved in frying them. Bake them instead, with as little heart-healthy olive oil as possible, and you could end up with an almost oil-free treat. You could even just lightly mist or brush them with oil before baking.
Say no to salt
It’s difficult to completely give up salt. But if you replace the amount of salt you use with other spices that pack a punch, you’ll end up making your fries richer in taste only, while cutting down further health risks. Experiment with garlic, paprika, cumin, chilli and garam masala too! You can also try spices like cinnamon which is great on sweet potato!
I Say Organic Simple Baked Fries
- 2-3 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced ¼ inch wide inch strips, using a crinkle cut knife (approximate 1 potato per person)
- Olive oil
- Himalayan salt
- Up to 1 tablespoon seasoning of your choice – garlic powder, paprika, chilli, garam masala
- Preheat the oven to about 230 degrees C. Line a sheet tray with brown paper.
- Toss the sweet potato strips with a little oil, enough to coat. Sprinkle the seasonings.
- Spread the sweet potato strips in single layer on the baking tray, leaving enough space between them.
- Bake for about 20 – 30 minutes, depending on thickness of strips, until they are tender and golden brown. Don’t forget to turn them over occasionally.
- Let cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Chef Sandeep’s tips for great, crisp fries!
- Use a crinkle cutter to make chips look attractive
- Once cooked, let chips rest, as they retain moisture.