Winter seemed almost over. The sun was out from behind the fog and days were back to being like they are in Delhi – bright and shiny. There were signs of spring and I was determined to turn over a new leaf.
You have to make the most of spring in my neck of the woods; you blink and you might have missed an entire season. Not so fast. We are back to gloomy overcast days; with added rain, for good measure. Which is all fine; who needs summer along before spring has had a chance. Just that I decided to put the sunshine to good use and make a batch of home-style potato chips which are an essential ingredient in my chiwda. Long story short – Lord Indra got a whiff, took a peek, decided to stay. I thought I would get around him and make sure I had chips that stayed white as if they had received their two days in the bright sun. Yup, the sun does different things for different people – some it bleaches, others it tans. Determined to save my chips from browning I heated the oven, turned it down all the way to barely warm, set my cellphone alarm for 10 minutes, and went up to the office with my cup of tea. One hour later…
Well anyway, it was good weather for potato soup, which is what we ate for dinner last night.
I had meant to share the method for making these chips last spring. Better late than never. There is sunshine after rain. Get yourself a couple of kilos of the new starchy potatoes that are in the market at this time and make yourself some old fashioned chips, the kind you find sold in heaps on carts in the weekly markets. There was a time, not all that long ago, when these were sold at every bus stop in Delhi; thick chips made fiery hot by a very generous sprinkling of crushed red chilli flakes. One look at these and I am back to college days reminiscing; how romantic those hours of wait at the bus stop now seem.
2 kg (about 4lbs.) new potatoes
Peel and rinse potatoes. Slice potatoes to desired thickness (1mm-3mm). You can do this in a food processor in 5 minutes. The first time around I used the old slicer which has a blade that can be flipped to make regular of rippled slices. To get the net-pattern, use the ripple blade and turn the potato 90 degrees after every slice. They give you thinner chips with a pretty pattern. Of course, it takes longer.
Rinse the potato slices in a large pot filled with cool water. Do this a couple of times to wash out the starch. Drain. Heat a large pot with water. Add salt (I used 4 t for the above quantity) and bring to boil. Blanch the potato slices for 2 minutes (keeping the pot on the burner). Drain. Spread slices on layered muslin to dry in bright sun till completely dry (2-3 days). Store in airtight jar.
To fry, heat oil in a heavy bottom pan till very hot. Fry the chips, a few at a time. The chips will expand and the colour will change. Do not brown. Drain with a slotted spoon and immediately sprinkle with chilli flakes. If you wait till you have fried the entire batch, the chilli flakes will not stick to the chips; they need that glimmer of oil to hold on to. The chips can also be fried ahead of time and stored in airtight containers.
I welcome you back to The Party with these chips and a cup of tea. I am serious about that new leaf I intend to turn over.
BTW, I can now crochet!