Curry Chips

March 7, 2011

Have I mentioned that I love french fries? I do. One of my favourite foods. In fact, “fry-fry” was among the first words I ever uttered. Love ’em. Not those skinny little shoestring things, but thick, hefty steak fries, or as they are called in Ireland “Chips”. Which brings me to my second offering in my month of Irish food recipes…Curry Chips. A delicacy found in many chip shops in Ireland, though not so often found here. I will mention though that Eamonn’s, a Dublin style chipper in Old Town Alexandria offers a curry sauce on the side, should you so desire. This certainly is not a difficult dish to prepare, you just fry up a batch of chips and cover them with a curry sauce.

When deep-frying chips previously I had just popped them in the fryer once the oil reached 375° F and let them sizzle away for about 15 minutes. I recently have come across several recipes though claiming that you should twice fry if you really want crispy chips. What you do here is prepare your chips by slicing the potatoes and then placing them in a bowl of ice water for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Remove them from the water and dry them well. Heat the oil to 320° F and fry them for 4-5 minutes. Remove them from the oil and place on a rack to drain. The chips will not be browned at all and will be somewhat softened. Allow them to stand until they are cool. Heat the oil up to 365° F and cook for 5-6 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to rack and sprinkle with salt.

Now for the curry sauce. I looked around online and tried to find a “chip shop” curry sauce recipe. That is where I first encountered some difficulty. It seems there is a controversy about how to make this sauce. One recipe claims you should chop up apples and onions in the sauce. (I don’t ever remember chunks of apples in my curry) Another claims that chip shops use a more Chinese take-away curry recipe. I was hoping I would just be able to find some sort of pre-made sauce. I had to search far and wide but found this mix at Giant.

Elusive mix

Just add water and boil. Easy-peasy, right? Unfortunately, I was raised in America and have significant difficulties with the metric system. McDonnells Curry Sauce mix is made in Ireland and therefore lists metric measurements in its directions for use. What is half of 125 grams and how do I measure that out? Arghhh!!! President Carter was right! I should be able to deal in metric measurements, along with the rest of the world. Well, I finally figured it out and my curry chips turned out quite nice. My husband really liked them, saying he had never thought of putting curry on chips before, but found it quite yummy. Give ’em a try.


Scotch Eggs & Chips

February 28, 2011

Its official. I definitely did lead a somewhat food deprived youth. Until last week I had never heard of a Scotch Egg. Indeed I have spent a lot of time in Ireland and have never stumbled across one there either. (Disclaimer: I do not mean to imply Ireland is anything like Scotland and certainly not part of the U.K.-I just thought encountering said egg might have been more likely due to the proximity of the countries). Any hooo……Whilst browsing recipes last week I found one for Inside-Out Scotch Eggs at 8.ate@eight. The author was planning a menu for a Robert Burns night and mentioned a Scotch Egg. She described it as “enrobing a hard-boiled egg with ground meat, breading and deep-frying the sucker”. She also indicated that it ends up “the size of your fist”. Deciding that it would likely not be appropriate as an appetizer for the menu she was creating, she went on to create what looks to be a very tasty and diminutive alternative to the unwieldy scotch egg, her Inside Out Scotch Eggs w/Ground Lamb, Harissa Yolk & Panko Gremolata. Don’t get me wrong…that recipe sounds fantastic, but I couldn’t pay it the attention it deserved. I just couldn’t get past the Scotch Egg. Somewhat obsessed, I searched around online to see what I could find out about them. They were introduced in 1738 by the London Department store Fortnum & Mason. In the UK they are regarded as a picnic food and are usually eaten cold. You can often find them pre-packaged in convenience stores. In the US they are usually found in “British” style pubs and are served hot with mustard or ranch dips. The Minnesota State Fair apparently serves them up on a stick. Again, I ask-Where have I been! I just have to have one of these things! So I set out to make it so and will tell you how you can as well.

You start by hard-boiling the eggs and then removing the shells. Cover your work area with a piece of wax paper and flatten approximately 1/4 lb. of sausage into a thin circle. This is easier to do if your hands are wet-the sausage won’t stick as much. Jay and I love spicy food, so I used “Hot” breakfast sausage. Place an egg in the center of the sausage round and work to enclose the egg entirely in the meat.

Eggs enclosed in sausage

Once this is done, dredge the sausage-coated eggs in flour, dip them in the raw eggs and then roll them in Panko (Japanese Bread flakes), making sure they are well coated.

Panko coated egg

You are ready to fry at this point. I just recently received a Breville deep fryer from my parents (thank you so much guys!) and I am always excited about frying anything! I decided to use peanut oil for frying. I know, I know….peanut oil is supposed to be just awful for you right? I’m not so sure I think thats true. It seems all of our ideas about what oils are healthy and what oils are not are always changing. Peanut oil is high in monounsaturated fat, which is the kind we want. In addition it has resveratrol in it. That is the stuff that you find in grapes and red wine which has been linked to reduced cardiovascular disease. I am sure you shouldn’t be eating fried foods all the time, but we don’t actually eat them often. So when we are breaking out the deep fryer, I am going to use an oil which I know will give me a great tasting treat. The other very important thing to remember when frying things is that the oil needs to be at a pretty high temperature 350-375° F. If the oil is at the correct temperature, the food you’re cooking releases steam, which travels out and prevents oil from seeping back in. The result is food which is light and crisp rather than soggy and greasy. Remember not to over-load the fryer basket as well. Too many items can cause a lower oil temperature, which will result in the soggy, greasy dilemma. We cooked our Scotch Eggs at 365° F for 10 minutes.  Voila!

Finished goodness

We ate these with Coleman’s Original English Mustard on the side. They were nothing short of stellar! Since the deep fryer was already going, we decided to make some french fries or rather chips as well to go along with our eggs. Nothing fancy here. We just cut up some russet potatoes

Fries ready to go

and popped them in the fryer at 375° F for 15-17 minutes and sprinkled them with kosher salt and malt vinegar.

Yum!

Awesome!  Unbelievable! Don’t deprive yourself-make these today!

Scotch Eggs

1 lb. bulk sausage-we prefer “hot” but  country-style or herbed would work just fine.

4 hard-boiled large eggs-shells removed

1/2 Cup all-purpose flour

2 raw eggs, beaten lightly

1 Cup Panko

Peanut oil for deep frying

Divide the sausage into four equal portions. Flatten into thin circles. Place an egg in the center of each round. Enclose each egg completely in the sausage. Dredge the sausage-coated eggs in flour, dip them in the raw egg and then roll them in the Panko until they are entirely coated. In a deep fryer heat peanut oil to 365° F. Fry Scotch Eggs two at a time for 10 minutes. Transfer to paper towels and salt and pepper as desired.


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