Domestic dilemmas solved
Don’t be daunted by that diva demeanour – Friday’s very own chef Silvena Rowe is happy to answer all your kitchen queries
My family loves French fries but when I make them at home they always end up a bit soggy. How can I get them to stay crispy?
First of all, you need to pick the right kind of potatoes. Idaho or Russet potatoes are ideal as they are denser than other varieties and do not have too much moisture.
Secondly, add a tablespoon of lemon juice to a bowl of ice-cold water and dunk the potatoes in it as soon as you peel and chop them, to prevent discolouration.
Once all the potatoes are peeled and chopped, rinse them until the water runs clear. This gets rid of any excess starch. Again, place the chopped potatoes in a bowl of ice-cold water with a tablespoon of lemon juice and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. This process is vital as it will allow the inside of the fries to cook before the outside browns.
When ready to fry, drain the potato pieces and place them on kitchen paper so that you get rid of any excess moisture. Heat peanut or sunflower oil over a medium heat until medium hot. If you’re using a cooking thermometer, then the temperature of the oil should read 170°C. Do not overcrowd the frying pan as that would lower the temperature of the oil. Fry the chopped potatoes for 6-8 minutes or until they are slightly golden brown on the outside but cooked inside.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the fries, place on kitchen paper and set aside for about 15 minutes or until they reach room temperature.
Now heat the same oil again on high (190°C on the thermometer).
Carefully place the fries back in the hot oil and fry for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on fresh kitchen paper, season generously with salt and pepper, if you like, and serve immediately.
Is there a way to save a dish that has had too much salt added?
This is tricky; I’d advise you to adjust the ingredients according to the dish. If it is a pasta dish that is over-salted, for example, add more pasta, a bit more sauce and garnish with more herbs. You will increase the quantity of the dish, but that is better than ending up with food that is inedible. If you’ve over-salted a curry, then the best solution is to peel and chop a potato into large chunks and add it to the curry. AAdd a bit more stock or water and let it boil until the potato iis cooked and the gravy is of the rright consistency. The potato absorbs the extra seasoning, and you can remove it before serving. If it’s a stir fry that you’ve over salted, then add more vegetables to the pan or add some stock and turn it into a soup. Next time, remember to always under season your dish and adjust the seasoning when it is cooked. ● Do you have a question for Silvena? Email her at Friday@gulfnews.com. Please write ‘Domestic Diva’ in the subject line of your email.