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

Friday - - Leisure -

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 Fri­ Please write ‘Do­mes­tic Diva’ in the sub­ject line of your email.

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