Potato Fry

Bangala Dumpala Vepudu | Potato Fry

Introduction To Potato Fry:

Potato fry is a dish, essentially consisting of potatoes that have been fried, or deep fried, in hot cooking oil, with the addition of salt and/or other spices/seasonings/herbs. Potato fry is a globally famous dish and is served in different countries in different ways as a snack, curry, etc. In India, in the South, potato fry is often served as a side dish as a curry. Potato fry is a basic potato dish, in which the potatoes are chunked, sliced, wedged, or diced, sometimes left unpeeled, and made by simply frying, using a wide pan or a skillet or may have been pan cooked by boiling, baking, steaming, or microwaving. Whichever way we choose to prepare potato fry, the end result is instantly a sure-shot hit dish.

Origin of Fried Potatoes:

Potato fry is common in a lot of countries, probably made in every country in some form by using different spices. It will be interesting to delve into the origin of fried potatoes. The origin of fried potatoes can be traced back to Belgium, where historians claim potatoes were being fried in the late 1600s. However, there is a constant dispute between the French and the Belgians about where the French fries were invented, with both countries claiming ownership. The story goes that, in Belgium, in Namur, when the River Meuse, from where the locals caught small fish, fried and ate them, froze in the winter months, the locals fried potatoes instead of the small fish they were accustomed to, and the fry was born. Then during World War 1, American soldiers, stationed there, were first introduced to these fries and they instantly fell in love with them. As the official language of the Belgian army was French, soldiers nicknamed the delicious fried potatoes “French fries.” So, apparently, the famous French fries are not actually from France.

French Fry
Photo by Valeria Boltneva from Pexels

The French Connection – Some Historians however claim that the French fries are indeed French. These proponents claim that the delicacy’s first form was the pomme Pont – Neuf, a deep-fried potato sold by pushcart vendors on Paris’s oldest bridge, the eponymous Pont Neuf, in the late 18th century.

Thomas Jefferson, possibly the first American foodie, introduced the French fry to America, and in his case, the fries are definitely French, Jefferson having encountered them while serving as American Minister to France from 1784 to 1789. The British call French fries “chips” and potato chips “crisps”. Other than these French fries, there are many varieties of fried potatoes which include German fries, hashbrowns, home fries, Lyonnaise potatoes (French dish ), papa rellena meaning stuffed potatoes (a Latin American dish), patatas bravas (Spanish), and finally the very popular Indian dish, our very own,  aloo fry. Interestingly, all are similar versions of the same dish, the difference is only in the technique of cooking or frying and in the seasoning. 

The Curry-Potato Fry:

Aloo fry, is a very special recipe, special because it is a common favourite of the entire family. It is made at least once a week at my place in combination with sambar and rasam. I have had a lot of practice, and my husband likes it in a certain way, so I had to learn to make it that way, soft from the inside, and crispy from the outside. It is very simple to make and needs just three basic ingredients, turmeric, salt and red chilly powder. However, one can add various other spices like coriander powder or sambar powder, or any other spice of your choice to make it more flavourful.

Potato  Fry

Though there is not much to the recipe, I would like to share the tips for achieving that particular texture. Firstly, the potatoes should be diced correctly, as in, the same size should be maintained in every piece as far as possible. If there is too much disparity in the size, one big, one small, then they will not get fried well, the small may get burnt or mushy by the time the big pieces are done. Secondly, the pan used to fry the diced potatoes should be wide, so that the pieces have enough space to be spread out well and to fry evenly. Next, pay attention to the temperature that needs to be used at various stages of cooking and frying the potato pieces. I have mentioned it in my steps. Also, we should make sure the pieces are completely moisture free before we start cooking them. One also needs to know when to put the salt, as salt starts to soften the pieces. Be careful not to stir and mix the pieces too much as they could break and get mushy. Finally, add the chilli powder in the end, after the fry is completely done and instantly switch off the flame, else the chilli powder may get burnt and spoil the look and taste of the fry.

Potato Fry

 As I already mentioned, aloo fry is usually served with sambar,  rasam, hot steaming rice and appadam/poppadams. I would like to dedicate this recipe not only to my husband but also to my late brother-in-law and friend – Anirudh and also to my long lost and found (after 25 years!) friend from school – Aditya Jayaraman.

Potato Fry – Recipe

Potato Fry Ingredients:

  • Potato – 5-6 medium-sized ( peeled and diced into small cubes)
  • Oil – 2bsps
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Red chilli powder – 1-2 tsps

How To Make Potato Fry:

  • STEP 1 – Soak the diced pieces in salted water for about 15 to 30 minutes, as it helps remove excess starch and they come out crispier. Once done soaking, drain them and dry them very well with a towel.
Potato Fry
  • STEP 2 – Take a flat pan and heat some oil. Put turmeric powder in the oil but don’t let it burn. Now add in the diced potatoes almost instantly right after adding the turmeric powder. Stir and spread the potatoes in the pan gently, making sure to coat them well with the oil and turmeric. Let them fry for 2-3 minutes on high flame so as to remove all the moisture, if any.
Potato Fry
  • STEP 3 – Further, stir occasionally for even cooking of the potatoes. You should not stir the cubes too much as they get mushy. Reduce the flame to low and continue to let them fry on low, else potatoes will not cook from the inside nor will they become crispy.
  • STEP 4 – Leave the potatoes to fry on low flame till they turn golden brown in colour from all sides. Add salt to taste at this point and mix.
Potato FRy
  • STEP 5 – Switch off the flame and sprinkle chilli powder and mix. Take care to add the chilli powder only after switching off the flame, otherwise, the powder gets burnt and this will spoil the taste of the fry.
Potato Fry
  • Serve aloo fry with hot steamed rice, sambar and papad.
Potato Fry

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