Ah, the tasty and popular fried potato; another great American invention. (Quibble if you must, but the other claims of origin are surely false, right?) They’re everywhere. Fast-food outlets; everyday restaurants; even up-scale steak places. Cruise the frozen food aisles at your grocer’s and you’ll find a bewildering assortment of options. All sorts of shapes for all kinds of applications.
The flavor’s all pretty much the same, though. Potatoes. Yeah, they’re yummy, or we wouldn’t eat so many of them. Of the 21 million tons of potatoes harvested in 1998, fully a third went into French fry production alone. One variety! All frozen types make up about 55% of the consumption of potatoes in the US. But let’s face it, potatoes need assistance to be truly appealing. (Get it? A-Peel-Ing? Man, I still crack me up.)
Not to worry, the Underground has come up with a solution to the “same-ol’, same-ol’” taste problem for potatoes. Use curry powder! Wait, though, don’t rush to the kitchen and start putting curry on all your potatoes! It’s not quite that simple, although it’s not hard, as you’ll see.
First, get a mild but flavorful curry powder. In a small mixing bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of curry, 1 tablespoon fine-grain salt, 1 tablespoon ground black pepper, and ½ tablespoon onion powder. Mix well and transfer to a shaker jar, like one of those that pizza joints use for parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes. Now you’re ready! Fry up some potatoes (like the waffle-cuts shown above) and sprinkle the curry spice mix on while the potatoes are hot from the oil. You can bake the potatoes if you prefer, but again, season when hot. Then enjoy! Adjust curry to your liking when you build your next batch. Add some powdered ginger for a touch of the exotic, or chili powder to increase the heat. It’s all good.
Like to dip your chips into a sauce? How ‘bout a zesty ketchup, rather than the usual stuff (which is for kids anyway). Buy one of those large plastic squeeze bottles of ketchup; the kind that sits on its lid so there’s ketchup ready to go. You know the kind. Pour the contents into a medium mixing bowl and add about 3-4 tablespoons of red pepper paste. You may have to add a teaspoon of water to thin out the pepper paste, it’s often quite stiff. Stir in a tablespoon of curry powder (your favorite; doesn’t need to be mild). Blend with a small whisk. Transfer ketchup back to the squeeze bottle (yeah, it’s messy, but worth it) and store as you usually do. Now you’re ready to enjoy zesty curry French fries with a kick-rump ketchup! (Yeah, I know. Kick-rump? What can I say, it’s a family comic strip around here.)
So don’t let your tastebuds wither, play with your food! Remember, you’re in control of the flavors, not the other way around…
Enjoy the (New Potato Style) Heat!