Chips are a very personal thing; preferences clash, condiments contrast and while a bowl is perfect for communal eating, these fast food favourites are very rarely shared. Well, willingly, anyway. Though they’re most often eaten out and about, or as part of a grease-soaked newspaper based package of loveliness, sometimes it can be even more rewarding to make your own. Yep, we know, this might seem like an unnecessary undertaking with a chippy on every corner, but bear with us; it’s remarkably easy to pull off. So, here are 7 tips for IDEAL homemade chips.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT POTATO
First things first, choosing the right spud variety is essential to the fluffy interior, crispy exterior that we’re surely all seeking from our ideal homemade chips. General wisdom suggests that you want a floury – as opposed to waxy – variety, such as King Edward’s or Maris Piper.
Of course, skinny and chunky both have their merits, and there’s even a case for skin-on at times, so let personal preference guide you. We at IDEAL like a chip somewhere between skinny and chunky, as the ratio of outside to inside is perfect. What is important is to cut all of your chips to the same size, so they cook at the same speed, and consistency is achieved.
RINSE OFF SOME STARCH
Once they’re peeled and cut, it’s good to rinse some starch off the spuds, preferably in a sieve or colander under cold, running water. The starch eventually turns into glucose, which caramelises excessively. Burnt edges are not what we’re after, as they won’t crisp. You could even soak the potato overnight, if you’re patient enough.
The next step when making the ideal homemade chip: you want to boil your chips from a cold start, with a little salt in the water. We want them to be soft, fluffy and yielding, but not lose their shape. It’s often a game of who blinks first, but take them as far as you can, as long as they’re still retaining their shape. A little roughed-up around the edges is fine; desirable even.
DRY AND COOL CORRECTLY
Being careful not to break the chips, carefully transfer them to a wire rack to air dry, using a slotted spoon for best results. Once they’re completely dry and cool, move them to the fridge to get cold. Again, overnight is best here, as the extra time in the fridge removes any moisture still present, which promotes the crispiest finish.
It’s time to fry. Choose your oil carefully; most cooks suggest vegetable or sunflower is best as they have a high burning point and don’t impart too much unnecessary flavour to the finished product. For the finest results, a double fry is in order. The first should be at around 130℃, for an extended period, until the exterior turns gold. Drain, dry, and then just before serving, fry the chips off again in oil between 180℃ and 190℃, until the edges are super crispy and super golden. Finally, drain on a paper towel.
SEASON AND SUPPLEMENT
Of course, before eating and while the chips are still hot, season with sea salt. After this, the supporting cast is up to you. We love chopped rosemary, smoked paprika and maybe garlic, though certainly not all together. And of course, it wouldn’t be a chip without some ketchup.