Crispy Sweet Potato Fries

Crispy Sweet Potato Fries

Crispy and crunchy on the outside, soft and sweet on the inside--Crispy Sweet Potato Fries will be the star attraction at any meal.

I remember the first time I tasted sweet potatoes.  I wasn't too impressed but that may have been because I was only 7 or 8 years old at the time.  Mom baked them and served them with butter and salt just like you would a regular old russet.  Not knowing what to expect I was taken by surprise at their sweetness. I was expecting the taste of a white potato which had somehow turned orange, ha, ha. I was quite relieved that we didn't eat them very often.  But tastes change over the years and I came to love the orange tuber and it's delicate sweet flavour.  

We have sweet potatoes several times a year (we'd eat them more often if they weren't so expensive), usually mashed with butter and salt but occasionally I roast them or try to make fries. Sweet potato fries are not the easiest things to make.  Because the sweet potato is full of natural sugar they tend to burn easily and can be as limp as a dish rag after a few seconds.  I've also tried the frozen fries but they're not much better and sometimes they're so salty the taste of the sweet potato is quite obscured. So it was back to the mashed sweet potatoes which, fortunately, I really like. 

Then one momentous day I stumbled across a recipe for Sweet Potato Fries by America's Test Kitchen on KCET and my life has changed forever!  Well, my life has changed as far as Sweeet Potato Fries are concerned.  No more soggy fries for me.  Cornstarch is mixed with partially cooked sweet potatoes which gives the surface of the potatoes just enough starch to fry into wonderful Crispy Sweet Potato Fries.  

Don't skip the baking soda in the water.  It helps break down the potato flesh making it a bit mushy and just right for mixing with the cornstarch slurry.  I changed a few things in the original recipe.  I didn't want as much salt and I didn't need as much oil for my 9- or 10-inch frying pans.  

The process of making these fries may seem time consuming and fussy but let me assure you they are well worth the extra time they may take. Plan on making these when you have some time to devote to both the boiling and frying of the fries.  A lazy weekend would be the perfect time to make these for dinner or supper.  And if you are having a celebration meal with family and friends these will be the star attraction at the vegetable station.  Set out a bowl of Party Chip and Veggie Dip and it's bound to be a feast for the mouth. 

Printable recipe at end of post.
Crispy Sweet Potato Fries
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 litres water
  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled (about 3 large potatoes)
  • 2-3 cups cooking oil
  • ½ cup cornstarch mixed with ½ cup water
  • Salt, seasoned salt or your favourite seasoning, optional 
How to make it:
Peel and rinse sweet potatoes. Cut potatoes into thick sticks.  They should be a little thicker than a regular French fry. If the sticks are very long cut in half. 

Bring 2 litres of water, 2 tablespoons of salt and the baking soda to boil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add potatoes and return to boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until they turn slightly mushy on the outside but still firm inside, about 3 to 5 minutes. Drain potatoes and place in a large wide bowl. I like to use my large bread bowl. 

Mix the cornstarch and water together in a measuring cup or small bowl.  Pour over the potatoes. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold potatoes with the cornstarch until the cornstarch slurry turns light orange, turns thick and sticks to the potatoes.

Heat oil in a large frying pan, ten to 12-inches in diameter, over medium high heat to 325 degrees. Cast iron or non-stick frying pans work the best. Use the greater amount of oil for the larger frying pan. If you do not have a thermometer test one fry to make sure the oil is not too hot or not hot enough.  Carefully add one-third to one-fourth of potatoes to oil, making sure that potatoes aren't touching one another. I place them one by one.  You can use your hands or tongs (tongs are safer). Fry until crispy and lightly browned, 7 to 10 minutes, using tongs to turn potatoes halfway through frying. Remove from oil and season with salt, seasoned salt, or your favourite seasoning to taste. Repeat with remaining sweet potatoes. As each batch is fried they can be kept warm in a 200 degree oven.  Place a baking rack on a cookie sheet and place the fries on the rack.  This will keep them warm and crispy while you fry the remaining potatoes.  Serve immediately.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Peel and wash the sweet potatoes.  I originally had 3 large potatoes but one fell prey to our supper earlier in the week.  I had approximately 2 pounds left.  I still had lots of fries.

Cut the sweet potatoes into sticks.

Make the cuts a little larger than a regular fry size.  Sweet potatoes are fairly fragile when compared to white potatoes and need a sturdier thickness.

Bring the water to a boil and add the baking soda.  This helps to break down the surface of the sweet potato.

Add the 2 tablespoons of salt to the water.  This will season the fries.

When the water is boiling add the sweet potatoes.  Bring the water back up to a boil then turn the heat down and simmer for 3-5 minutes.  The potatoes are done when they are starting to get mushy on the outside but still firm on the inside. 

While potatoes are simmering mix the cornstarch and water together.  This is called a slurry.

When the potatoes have cooked, drain and place in a large bowl.  I use my bread bowl which is actually a plastic dishpan.  Pour the cornstarch slurry over the potatoes.

Gently fold the potatoes and cornstarch slurry together.  The cornstarch will thicken and stick to the potatoes.  This is what gives them such a nice crispy surface.

Pour oil into frying pan and heat to 325 degrees over a medium high heat.  If you do not have a thermometer test one fry to make sure the oil is at the right temperature.  You don't want the oil too hot or not hot enough.

Fry the potatoes in 3 or 4 batches, depending on the size of your frying pan.  Place the fries in the oil one at a time to avoid them sticking together.  You can do this using your hands or tongs.  Tongs are much safer. 

Fry the sweet potatoes 7-10 minutes, turning half way through. This time use the tongs! 

As each batch is finished frying, season and place in a 200 degree oven.  A baking rack placed in a cookie sheet keeps the fries nice and crispy.  

Crispy Sweet Potato Fries
Make these Crispy Sweet Potato Fries when you have lots of time to enjoy them or save them for a special family celebration.

Crispy Sweet Potato Fries
Crispy Sweet Potato Fries ready for a lazy weekend dinner or supper.

To print click on arrow upper right side.⇩          


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