I always struggle to get sweet potato fries to have the right crispness and texture - this corn starch is a twist. Does that somehow draw moisture out and produce a crisper fry? I’m going to give it a try. I’m curious about the coconut oil too - seems to be all the rage at the moment. What are the main benefits?
I have a deep fryer (Waring Pro) that I got as a gift. The first year that I had it, it seemed like every meal had something worth frying. But eventually the health concerns, smell from so much heated oil, and the cost and hassle of keeping that much clean oil on hand got to me and it’s been mothballed for years. I love fries and indulge in them occasionally, but I’ve resorted to buying frozen fries, of which there are several that are not over-processed and relatively healthy.
Have you tried any oven-‘fried’ methods? I know they exist, and are likely less tedious (though they may take longer for the first one!) than skillet-frying since you can do larger batches.
Try frying in a wok, a la Serious Eats. Super cool.
I’ve been using coconut oil recently in a lot of my cooking, so I can answer your question about that.
Coconut oil can heat to higher temperatures than olive oil without scorching.
It adds its own flavor to what you cook if you get the kind that is not de-odorized (usually noted as “refined” coconut oil on the container). As I’ve learned about this deordizing process, I’m avoiding deodorized oils.
The flavor is def noticeable and has a sweet, coconut flavor that complements baked goods well, but may or may not be a flavor you like with sweet potatoes. Peanut oil is another good high temp oil which may have a better flavor for fries.
There are a ton of hyped up health claims about coconut oil right now. As far as I can tell, it is precisely that, hype - but it is true that the newer studies are showing it is not as bad for your heart as once thought. Otherwise, buyer beware with the health claims.
This kinda sounds like a lot of effort. I tend to just toss them in olive oil (and optionally paprika and black pepper) and chuck them on a baking sheet in the oven for 20 minutes. Not perfect but they taste good.
ITA with waetherman’s complaints about using a deep fryer in a home.
High heat in an oven (convection and/or roasting setting if you’ve got it) works well enough.
Avocado oil is actually a higher heat oil than peanut even. Also a more neutral flavor and of course less likely to cause your allergic child or guest an ER-worthy reaction.
Good to know about the coconut oil - I’ll do some research on the “refining” process and see what I think about that. My wife hates coconut so I’m guessing even a hint of the flavor (or maybe even the smell) will put her off whatever I’m cooking.
I’ve used peanut oil quite a bit and I like the results, but I remember it being more expensive than other oils, and when you’re deep-frying it adds up quickly. Since I don’t deep fry any more, I might start using that again instead of cooking with olive oil, which inevitably smokes. I’ll also look in to avocado oil as @chgoliz recommends - it’s even more expensive but it seems like it’d be a good product.
I might be getting a little conspiracy theory on the deodorizing process, but I started researching it for a blog post back a couple of years ago when I had a little baking blog that was mainly a time filler when I had a job that was coming to an end. A lot of the info on the deodorizing process I was finding came from the oil industry, but since I was just reading websites and had no special knowledge of the industry, I didn’t feel comfortable writing a blog post. Pretty much all canola oil is deodorized; apparently rapeseed oil tastes pretty nasty otherwise. And olive oil is often made out of rotting olives and then deodorized. I’m not sure what the health results might be, but now that I purchase actual good flavorful olive oil it is amazing the difference in taste compared to the supermarket brands. I like oils to have a flavor; I just try to pick the flavor that complements the food I am making.
Here’s a good website with info about olive oil:
Yes, I do oven fries with them. I don’t have a recipe; just toss in a couple tablespoons of oil - I prefer olive oil - and spread them out on a cookie sheet in a hot oven - maybe 425F? Similar to how you’d do roast potato wedges.
I’m now very tempted to get a french fry cutter. I got a julienne slicer disc for my food processor but that makes them awfully skinny, and it has a hard time on sweet potatoes.
Costco is worth the annual membership fee. Just saying.
We make deep fried sweet potato fries pretty often here- it’s one of the few starchy-seeming treats hubby can eat without his blood sugar spiking. We have the single pan version of this fryer, and it’s awesome!
It heats well, and the basket holds 1 big potato easily. The shape of the pan makes it easy to pour the oil back into a bottle without making a mess, which makes it easier to filter and reuse oil, so I can justify using expensive peanut.
The best part is that it all comes apart into very easily-cleanable sections. Except for the element, everything can go in the diswasher, so it gets degreased well and doesn’t mess up its storage shelf.
We’re having sweet potato fries with turkey meatloaf tonight, and I think I will try the recipe you’ve posted here, it looks like an improvement on our normal method.
I was watching a cooking show years ago (not one of those stupid competition shows) where the chef tried slow-frying his potatoes in the oven, in a bid to avoid acrylamide.
It should work for the sweet potatoes:
In a pan/baking dish lay out all your fries. Cover them with oil. Bake in a very slow oven (240F, if memory serves) for about 4 hours. They’ll brown very nicely, and because of the low temperature, you can use (and reuse) the olive oil.
Olive oil poached fries? That sounds crazy, but a little googling around turned up a similar suggestion from the NYT (though they use a pan on a low burner, not an oven). I like your idea better, since it’s more exact.
I have that fryer! Or, rather, an earlier model; mine was bought 10 years ago because my husband-to-be insisted.
We started out using it at least three times a week, but are down to a more healthy once in a while. We had several frying parties in the early days, where people brought foods to fry, and we discovered 1). that deep-frying bacon is one of the ways you can make bacon unappetizing, 2.) pancake batter + foodstuff = treat, and 3). anything panko-breaded was going to leave an inch of sludge on the bottom…
I’m using peanut oil from our local restaurant supply place, at about $10US for a fill-up.
It’s probably not cost-effective vs. heating oil on the stove, but it makes it So Much Easier.
And thanks for pointing out the recipe/technique for sweet potato fries.
I’ve had good results with the DeLonghi deep fryer. I like the closeable lid: keeps down the splatter while you fry and has a double air filter. Outside stays cool and has a quick detachable magnetic cord (like a Mac laptop) for safety. Even has a built in timer–very useful. Have made lots of tempura, panko cutlets and plenty of potato chips (get a mandoline cutter for those.)
Mark, I have the single basket version of that Presto. Its a bit rickety (largely because it disassembles so completely for cleaning). But it does a wonderful job frying, its probably the best non-professional fryer I’ve used in that regard. I’d hesitate to get the dual basket model, it seems its heating element is the same as the smaller one. Same size, same power output, etc. With double the food and oil capacity, I suspect it’d have trouble maintaining consistent temperatures. If you need a higher volume just by 2 of the single basket ones (I got mine for ~$30 at Target).
But like I said, they’re a little flimsy. If anyone is looking for a better made option I think the 2 things that make the presto work so nice are that relatively high powered immersion element, and its high oil capacity. Both things are very good for temperature stability, which is the big issue with home deep fryers. Otherwise the best experiences I’ve had deep frying at home are in a Wok, though that can limit your batch size.
I agree on the wok working very well and a great way to not have another single-purpose item taking up storage real estate. But speaking as someone with two very different sizes of wok, I would argue that batch size doesn’t have to be as limited as you think…
Sweet Potato fries. Disgusting!
As a proper potato french fry loving human being, I feel obliged to leave this link here. Perhaps it will help you godforsaken sweet potato lovers.
Interesting you bleed the starch from them, then coat them with starch…But, if it works! Anyway. When I cook them, I just oil and salt them and put them on a cookie sheet under the broiler. Toss them to brown all sides. And like a real man, I use a knife! Arrrrgggh!