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- Preparation and cooking time
- Serves 4
Proper Belgian fries made from scratch. Delicious on their own, or a great side dish for stoofvlees (Flemish beef stew). Serves 4 as a side.
- 1.75 kilos waxy potatoes
- 1.5l corn oil (or any other flavourless vegetable oil)
- mayonnaise (to serve)
- STEP 1Peel and rinse the potatoes. Then, it’s off to the chopping board! Start by cutting your potatoes lengthwise (make sure your discs are not too thick), then slice the discs into fries of roughly the same thickness. Don’t worry if you end up with a few oddballs. Belgian fries are very forgiving. ^^
- STEP 2Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and fill another pot with ice water.
- STEP 3Once the water comes to a boil, add a teaspoon of salt. Add one big slotted spoon worth of raw fries to the boiling water and blanch them for 5 minutes. Remove with the slotted spoon and dunk into the ice water bath before putting them on a clean dish cloth/kitchen towel. Pat them dry. You want to get rid of any moisture before you start frying. Repeat until your entire batch of raw fries has been blanched. [I should add that not everyone blanches their fries. As potatoes have a high sugar content, they tend to turn dark brown when frying. By blanching them the sugar content is reduced and they’ll get a nice golden colour.]
- STEP 4OPTIONAL: I tend to go the extra mile and arrange individual fries to air-dry for a few minutes after patting them dry, just to make sure they’re nice and dry before I start pre-frying them. We take our fries seriously in Belgium. Can you tell?
- STEP 5Frying happens in two stages. You can use a deep-frier for this or a wok. I used a wok. Pre-frying: heat 1 litre of the oil until it reaches 150°C and start frying in small batches (one heaped slotted spoon at a time) for 6 minutes each. If using a wok, make sure you check the oil’s temperature after each batch. After pre-frying, put the fries in a bowl with some kitchen roll to draw out the excess oil. Your fries will start to look yellow at this stage but not golden yet. [If making a large batch, you can freeze the fries after this step and save them for another day. They keep in the freezer for 6 months. You can also store them in the fridge until later on (if using the same day). If you're looking to fry the full batch, move on to step 6.]
- STEP 6As soon as your fries have been pre-fried, it’s time to turn up the heat. Add the remaining 0.5 litre of oil to the hot oil in the wok and heat it up until it reaches at least 180°C. It’s best to keep the flame a bit higher throughout the second fry compared to the pre-frying stage. Keep an eye on that temperature, and remember: the more room your fries have, the crispier they’ll be in the end!
- STEP 7Fry in batches (6 minutes per batch) until nice and golden. When you take them out of the oil, you’ll notice straight away whether they’re crispy or not.
- STEP 8Transfer to a bowl with some kitchen roll and add a pinch of salt.
- STEP 9Serve with a good dollop of mayonnaise.