Vlaamse Frites — Belgian Street Fries

Who doesn’t love fries? Seriously…point them out.

I always thought that Americans were the most French Fry-obsessed people in the world–everyone has their favorite place to get them (Chick-fil-a) and their favorite toppings, and condiments. Simply put, fries are everywhere here, and considering all the bad press the US gets about un-heathy eating, and obesity, I figured this was a unique feature of our culture. Then, I went to Amsterdam.

It turns out, we’re pretty prudish with our fries here. Seriously, what do you normally put on your fries? Ketchup? Vinegar? Chili? Boring. I scanned the menus at a few street carts for a few minutes before I realized that they were actually huge lists of different sauces, and toppings to push your fries over the edge. The locals all swore by the peanut satay sauce, and for good reason–it’s so good, I wonder how we didn’t think of it first! It’s one of those weird street food combinations–like Currywurst–that simply changes the game.

I don’t fry a lot at home, but I’ve been working on ways to get the most out the times when I do. When I fry potatoes, I steal a little trick from fast food restaurants, and precook the potatoes the remove some of the water, and make the potato crisp up more quickly. The microwave works well when you’re making small batches at home, and as long as you keep an eye on things, and poke a few shallow holes in the potatoes, it’s a cool shortcut.

Next comes the Satay-style sauce– I like to use peanut butter as the base, and tweak the flavor with additional spices, crushed peanuts, peppers, and lime juice. This is one of my go-to sauces–especially when it’s warm enough to grill outside–because it’s so versatile. It’s good on meat, potatoes, spring rolls–anything, really. Once you learn how to make it, you’ll have it in your pocket– and when the right time comes, you’ll know.

 

Once everything’s cooked, you can even serve this in the traditional newspaper cone with a toothpick, and pretend for a moment that you’re walking the streets of Europe.

Let’s cook.

You’ll need:

2 lb Russet Potatoes

1/2 White Onion, diced

1/2 Tsp Ginger, minced

1 Tsp Garlic, minced

1/2 Jalapeño, diced

1 Cup Peanut Butter

2 Tbs Dark Soy Sauce

2 Limes, juiced and zested

1/2 Cup Cilantro, minced

1 Tsp Turmeric

1 Tsp Paprika

1/4 Tsp Coriander Powder

1/4 cup Hot Water

2 Cups Vegetable Oil

Salt & Pepper to taste

  1. Rinse the potatoes under cold water, then pierce lightly on all sides with a sides with a fork. tightly with wet paper towels, and microwave for four minutes. Remove from the microwave, and allow them to cool before handling.
  2. Transfer potatoes to a cutting board, and cut into desired shape, then season with salt. Heat oil on med-high heat, then fry potatoes until golden brown. Transfer a stack of paper towels to drain excess oil. Alternatively, you could toss the wedges in salt and vegetable oil, and bake them at 425 degrees until golden– if you want to avoid deep-frying
  3. Combine peanut butter, garlic, ginger, jalapeño, turmeric, paprika, soy sauce, lime juice, crushed peanuts, and lime zest in a heat safe bowl. Stir to combine, then stir in hot water slowly until a smooth sauce forms. Taste for seasoning.
  4. Serve fries with sauce, cilantro, and diced onions.

Done.

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