It has just started snowing in London. Snow! I am hiding inside under my duvet while I work, with the heating on. I need carbs and spice and a perfect egg with a runny yolk.
Masala fries are in my mind a lot recently, not just because they are delicious and so satisfying, but also because my corner shop has started stocking them in their freezer. I see them every time I walk out of the shop. They are so easy to make at home, and as with most things, all the better for it. Today was the day that I would make them.
Masala is a word used in Indian cooking often. People associate it with tikka, and with a particular blend of spices at times. Masala simply means a mixture of ground spices used in Indian cooking and so a masala omelette (something I also love to make) simply means an omelette with spices, and masala fries means fries with spice.
I say fries, these are oven baked but they are gorgeous and crisp and fluffy inside. Cumin is an essential spice for these, I always use whole spices which I toast gentle in a dry frying pan before grinding finely in my pestle and mortar. I then add turmeric, paprika (Hungarian or Spanish usually, Hungarian this time as I have a particularly good one from my last trip to Budapest), chilli (Korean gochugaru on this occasion, I love its round bright flavour and slight sweetness, Aleppo chilli or pul biber are favourites for this too), sea salt and ground pepper.
Boiling the potatoes first gives best results, boil them until a sharp knife will go through easily but they are not yet yielding. Toss them in the spices and add some neutral oil (rapeseed or groundnut work well) before roasting them until crisp outside and perfectly fluffy within.
A perfect egg to finish. I am fussy with my eggs. I like them all ways but they must be done right. For fried eggs, I have a small pan for blinis, perfect for a gorgeous round egg. A little oil, the egg cracked first into a small bowl to minimise the chance of breaking the yolk while adding it to the pan. A little sea salt, pepper and chilli on top, and a saucer to cover so that the white cooks in the heat retained within but the yolk remains gorgeous and runny, perfect to drag a crisp masala fry through.
Fabulous. I had this twice and now I am so full but I am happy. What do you reach for on a snow day or a day that you need comfort?
Serves 2 or 1 hungry and tired person twice (guilty!)
- 4 average potatoes, I like to keep the skin on, sliced into fries
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tbsp turmeric
- 1/2 tbsp paprika
- 1/2 tbsp chilli
- sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- neutral oil
Preheat your oven to 180 deg C.
Parboil the potatoes until just tender but not yielding. Drain and put in an oven tray (or trays if you need) that will accommodate the fries in a single layer. Drizzle some oil over them.
Toast the cumin in a dry frying pan for a minute or so until it starts to pop or you can smell it. Grind to a powder in a pestle and mortar and mix with the remaining spices.
Sprinkle over the fries and gently mix them around so that they are all well covered.
Roast for 20 - 25 minutes until crispy outside.
Enjoy! (How good are they?!).