I’ve yet to meet somebody who doesn’t like chips. For some people they’re a regular feature at mealtimes; for others a ‘naughty but nice’ indulgence. There’s just something delicious, comforting and more-ish about hot potato chips which are crisp on the outside and delightfully fluffy on the inside.
Yes, there are those party poopers who say that chips are bad for you, but don’t forget that there are several ways of cooking chips these days in your choice of oil, or several varieties of oven chip available if you don’t fancy the deep fried version.
Enjoy chips in moderation
Like everything else, chips should be enjoyed in moderation. But this week you can throw moderation to the wind because it’s Chip Week – a time to celebrate one of the nation’s favourite foods. Whether you like chip shop chips, triple-cooked chips, French fries, curly chips, chunky chips, chips with or without their jackets, crinkle-cut, straight-cut or wedges – buy, fry, grill or buy some this week and enjoy them with fish, steak, sausages, eggs, burgers, ham, omelette, pie or just on their own with salt and vinegar, ketchup, barbecue sauce, brown sauce, curry sauce, cheese, gravy or mayonnaise.
Facts about chips
There are lots of facts about the humble chip on the Chip Week website. For example, did you know that in the UK more than 1.6 million tonnes of potatoes are made in to chips each year? Or that as a nation we eat 3 billion meals per year containing chips? Or that 250 million of these meals are fish and chips? If you visit the website you’ll also find out that the best potatoes for making chips are Maris Piper or King Edwards because they ensure that the chips are fluffy inside.
Exercise caution when frying chips at home
Chip pan fires are the cause of a large number of house fires each year, so if you’re frying chips at home, make sure that you follow this advice issued by the Government:
- Take care when cooking with oil – it sets alight easily.
- If the oil starts to smoke, it’s too hot. Turn off the heat and leave it to cool.
- Use a thermostat controlled electric deep fat fryer for chips. They can’t overheat.
- Do not leave cooking unattended and avoid children being alone in the kitchen when cooking on the hob.
- Don’t overfill a chip pan with oil – never fill it more than one third full.
- Make sure food is dry before putting it in hot oil so it doesn’t splash.
- For more information please visit facebook.com/firekills or http://www.fireservice.co.uk/safety/chip-pans
Chip dip recipes
Simple pleasures are often the best. Here are some recipes for homemade dips – the perfect complement to chips.
1 tsp smoked paprika (or add more to taste)
½ tsp ground cumin
Mix well together.
Sweet Chilli Sauce
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
6 long red chillies, including seeds, finely chopped
1 tbsp fish sauce (optional)
100g caster sugar
100ml rice vinegar
Place the chilli and garlic in a pan with the remaining ingredients and 100ml of water. Bring the mixture to the boil and continue to boil for 5 minutes or until the mixture has reduced to a syrup-like consistency. Set aside to cool.
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 apple, peeled, cored and finely diced
1 tbsp curry paste
2 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp tomato puree
Lemon juice to taste
Salt and pepper
Heat the oil and fry the onion until soft but not coloured. Add the apple and curry paste and continue frying until the apple is beginning to break down. Stir in the flour, cook for 2 minutes and then remove from the heat and add 500ml water, tomato puree, salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. Return to the heat and simmer for 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
For the chips
600g Maris Piper or King Edward potatoes
2-3 tbsp sunflower oil
Preheat the oven to 200°C, Fan oven 180°C, Gas mark 6. Peel and cut the potatoes into thin chips. Lightly coat them in a little sunflower oil and place in a non-stick roasting tray. Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes, turning occasionally.