I had a friend in elementary school that owned a deep fryer. It was a revelation. I had no idea you could have something like that in your house. In my 11-year-old brain this was only a restaurant contraption. To say the least I was envious. I really like deep fried food. Back when I worked at a lab in Victoria I car-pooled with a guy who really liked to cook and eat. On many drives home we would fantasize about all the things we would deep-fry: perogies, hotdogs, pickles…etc.
I do not own a deep fryer. It would be way too tempting, plus I hate the way they make your house smell. I will admit that getting things in your oven to turn out the same as deep-fried is probably impossible. I have tried many things to get crispy oven yam fries, but they always seem to come out soggy with burnt edges. Edible but no match for deep-fried.
When this recipe “guaranteed” crispy yam fries from the oven with photographic evidence I really had no choice but to give it a go.
Peel yams and cut into fries (about 1 cm x 1 cm). Soak in water for an hour or more. Preheat the oven to 425 F°. Drain water. Add a big handful of fries to a plastic bag and sprinkle in about a tablespoon of cornstarch. Shake bag to coat fries evenly. You don’t want them to be white just dusted. Add more yam if the coating looks a little thick. Repeat until they are all done.
Remove from bag onto a cookie sheet (I recommend a parchment paper lining to ensure they don’t stick). Drizzle with a little olive oil, use your hands to toss together and coat. Less oil is more in this case. Arrange fries so they are not touching and have a little room. If they are too close together they will steam = mushy. Use another cookie sheet or do more than one batch to get it right, it is worth it.
Bake for 15 minuets flip with a spatula and bake for another 5. Sprinkle with a little sea salt. Adapted from here.
Guess what? They were crispy! It worked, whole family loved them. I served it with a chipotle dip: 1 part light mayo, 1 part light sour cream and chipotle sauce to taste.
A few points: the measurements aren’t exact, which I know gives some people anxiety. It does allow for you to make as much as you want. You do want a fairly light coating of cornstarch. Some of mine got more of a dusting and tasted a little powdery. You also need all the fries tossed lightly with oil but not have it puddle on the sheet (again results in soggy). I am not sure what the water soaking step is about and the recipe says it is not mandatory, might try to skip it next time, one less step. All that said it’s pretty easy.
Deep fried taste replicated? Almost. But…100% better than any other oven yam fry I have tried.
Tiffany McFadden, RD