Thursday, January 24, 2013

Root Veggie Chips

How's your bottom looking? Have people been stopping you constantly to tell you how good you look? It's not too late to make a new year's resolution.

Relax, I'm not here to bust your balls, smelly. I'm not the health food police. I'm more like a sleazy lobbyist for saturated fat.

What I'm saying is that maybe your resolution should be to gain 10 lbs. No matter what anyone says, no one likes an attractive person. And all those haters stopping to compliment you are wasting time that you could be wasting on your terms. Lucky for you, uncle oodblo has the cure-all: Eat a shitload of chips and stay seated basically always. You're welcome.

I started making chips this way a few months ago, on a whim. I'd had shitty luck trying to make sweet potato chips in the past. I had this idea in my head that thinly sliced sweet potatoes would burn if I tried to fry them (probably because sweet potato fries can be a bitch to fry), so I had always tried baking them. Wow - what a pain in the dick. First off - talk about irony - they burn. They bake for awhile, then they progress from floppy/decidedly undercooked to perfect to burnt in, seemingly, a minute and a half. And they shrink so much, to about 1/3 of their original size, so it takes forever to bake a batch, because you have to break them into so many groups. Now, if you have a convection oven that can cook a fuckin' dinosaur, great; otherwise, frying is a far saner option. See, chips are all about the release of moisture - a wet chip is really no chip at all - and if you have an oven full of sweet potato slices, you're gonna have an oven as humid a bikram yoga class *, not good if you're trying to bake something crisp. (Any blog that slows a million pictures of happy baked chips stacked high isn't telling you that it took them half and hour to make 15 chips and all goddamn day to get enough chips for that picture) 

Frying these chips works better because a) you're getting more even heat distribution than in a conventional oven, so no burned chips and b) the moisture releases straight into the air, away from the cooking area, instead of steaming the chips like in the oven.

This recipe works for any root veggie that I've tried. Not to get all 'not glib' on you, but this is the best recipe I've come up with in awhile (especially the sweet potato and beets). But the best part: these are addictive as shit, so you're gonna gain that 10 lbs in no time! Enjoy and keep reaching for those stars, even though you're probably statistically average! 

Note: Consistent thickness to your slices is paramount here. Inconsistent slices will get you a gnarly combo of oily, limp chips and burnt-to-a-crisp chips, so unless you’re a robot and can be programmed to cut perfect 1/16th” slices, you need a mandoline slicer for this recipe. 
Root Veggie Chips
(makes about an hour’s worth for 5 or 6 people)
Assortment of root vegetables (I used potato, sweet potato, garnet yam, beet and malanga root), sliced 1/16th inch thick
Oil for frying

1. Soak. Soak the starchy veggie slices in an ice water bath to draw out some of that starch, 30-60 minutes. If you’re using multiple veggies, keep them separate, as they have different cooking times (from 7 minutes for the garnet yam to 12 or more for potatoes and sweet potatoes). The malanga root literally oozes starch, so those slices may need more soaking time, and they’ll definitely need a rinse afterward. Beets aren’t starchy, so they don’t need to soak.

2. Dry. Eliminating moisture is the name of the game here, so you want as little water as possible hitting the oil. Dry veggie slices on racks or towels, preferably with the assistance of a fan. Pat them dry if you’re pressed for time.

3. Fry. Heat your oil (I used peanut oil, nearly a gallon) to about 350 (med-hi for me). Fry the chips in batches, gingerly flipping every 3 minutes or so. Don’t mess with them too much or they’ll break apart. Watch them. When there is hardly any steam coming off of the oil, you’re almost there. Now listen to them. The chips are done when the sound of the oil bubbling sllooooows waaaay down — just like when you’re making popcorn and it’s done when the pops slow to every two seconds. When the bubbling slows to a lazy crawl, they’re done. Drain them, salt them, let them cool (the beets in particular crisp as they drain and cool) and devour or store for later devouring.
I used photoshop to create the illusion of these chips on the plate together. I'm sorry if you feel I've deceived you.

*But with considerably less moisture coming from titty sweat. Now, am I right ladies or am I right?

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