Traditional Belgian Fries (because they’re not French)

 

Sometimes, you just want the food that you enjoyed for the first 25 years of your life. That’s where fries (or chips, for the English and Australians) come in. Being originally from Belgium, I can tell you that I’ve had my fair share of the perfect fries. By the way, did you know that they were invented in Belgium? ‘French fries’ is a misnomer, they were named after the language that was spoken in this area (and we’ve got no less than 3 official languages in Belgium!) rather than the country. Glad we cleared that up.

Being Belgian also means that I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to fries. So many fries are too thick, too floppy, too greasy, too pale, too … Making the perfect fries is truly an art form! That’s why I wanted to share this traditional way of making Belgian fries with you. It might not be the healthiest dish on my blog, but it most definitely is one of the best. I apologise for the crummy pictures but I honestly couldn’t wait to eat these. I also don’t like filtering the crap out of my pictures for the same reason I don’t like heavy make-up. Now, before I go ahead and give you our national ‘secret’ recipe: please don’t have these babies with sweet mayonnaise. It’s just… not right. 🙂 If you’re interested in the veggie burger in the background: that one will be in my next post so stay tuned!

Ingredients (makes enough for two Belgian sized portions):

  • 3 very large floury potatoes (other potatoes will make for soggy and/or overly brown fries because of the moisture and sugar in them so make sure to get floury ones!)
  • A mix of sunflower oil and rapeseed oil, enough to fill your frying pot (sub with any other vegetable oil that can withstand heat when frying so do NOT use olive oil)

Method:

  • Peel the potatoes and cut them into fries. I usually do this by cutting very big potatoes vertically into thick slices, in a similar way to this but my slices are obviously thicker and don’t have a peel:

  • Then cut these slices into fries. Apparently the ideal thickness is 13 mm so if you want proper Belgian fries (who wouldn’t?), aim for this.
  • Put the fries in cold, filtered water to wash off the starch. This makes them extra crispy. Dry them off very well so they don’t spatter when they hit the oil.
  • Heat up the oil. You can check if the oil is hot enough to fry by putting the end of a wooden utensil in it: when ready, small bubbles will form around it. It is crucial that the oil is hot enough so the fries don’t soak up all the oil and get greasy and floppy.
  • Drop the fries in the oil. Fry them in batches. This is important because if you put too many in at once, the temperature will drop and you will again get greasy, floppy fries.
  • For the first round of frying, we are just cooking the fries so fry them until they ‘sing’ and before they brown. You’ll know what I mean by singing when you are doing the frying 🙂
  • Get the fries out and onto (paper) towels to get rid of the excess oil and leave them for half an hour to cool down. Don’t skip this step!
  • Fry until the fries sing again and you’re happy with the colour.
  • Sprinkle with salt and eat with copious amounts of mayonnaise 😉

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