Simple but innovative technique leads to tasty treat!
I am not much of a fast-food person but I have to admit I’m a sucker for sweet potato fries. I love the taste of them and it feels kind of virtuous to eat something that is crammed with vitamin C, calcium, folate, potassium and beta-carotene. Most restaurant versions are deep fried (and wickedly delicious) but I knew there had to be a way to make an oven-baked version that would be just as addictive. The best part about this method is that you can add the amount of seasoning you prefer – I like mine with a little kick so I have a heavy hand with the chili powder but you can keep it really simple and just add a little salt. I like to think of these fries as a guilt-free treat!
- sweet potatoes – one per person
- corn starch – about 1 teaspoon (5 mL) per potato
- olive oil – just enough to coat – about 1 1/2 tablespoons (22.5 mL) per potato
- salt and pepper – 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) each per potato
Additional seasonings: I like to use about 1/8 teaspoon (0.7 mL) each of cumin, chili powder, paprika; I’ve also tried a little cayenne and garlic powder too! Curry powder would probably be awesome.
- Preheat the oven to 425F.
- If you prefer, peel the sweet potatoes (not required – you can just scrub them well instead and remove any blemishes). Cut them into even-sized sticks about 1 cm x 1 cm (a bit less than 1/2” fry-shaped pieces (see photos). It’s important to try to cut them into similarly sized pieces so they will bake evenly (the length of the fries doesn’t matter – just the width/depth).
- Put the sweet potato pieces into a plastic bag. Sprinkle with cornstarch, twist or zip the bag to close it, then shake gently until potatoes are evenly coated.
- Next add the olive oil (go easy with it at first; you can always add a little more if needed) and shake the potatoes once again. Once they are evenly coated with cornstarch and oil (with no visible white blobs of cornstarch), add the salt, pepper and spices, then shake once more.
- Gently pour the potatoes out onto parchment-lined baking sheets (this is important – they will stick like crazy without the parchment). Carefully arrange them in a single layer on each sheet and try to have them not touching each other to let their moisture evaporate; this promotes better crisping.
- Bake for 20 minutes, then carefully turn the fries over, a few at a time, and rearrange them so they are not touching.
- Bake for 15 – 20 more minutes, until the sweet potato fries are nice and crispy – you can tell they’re done if they are puffy looking and the edges are starting to caramelize and turn brown. If you’re not sure, take one out, let it cool a minute, and do a taste test.
- Remove from oven and let sit 2 – 3 minutes to finish crisping up.
- Serve with your favourite dipping sauce(s) – I like truffled mayo, sriracha-spiked ketchup and aioli.