Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Baked Chaat Masala Fries with Chili Mayo

This was supposed to have come out Memorial Day. Which, by the way, was 9 days ago, heralding in another prolonged summer and restoring my nasty DSD (disruptive seasonal disorder), annoying condition of mine that usually involves a slackjawed-gaze-on existence, comes with the scorching air, and is writ with mutlilevels of busy involving my schoolless kids. During this, sanity gets thrown out the window and unfortunately so do many pages of what I wish to begin here. Mind you, I dream grand blogger dreams, but squat and zilch result in the wake of the above mentioned events. To those of you who've been knocking at my door, I apologize, I know its been a while since we've conversed.

So, to find my way out, resurge the kitchen groove and not drift totally away on winds of lackadaisical and slack, I ask my two junior homesharers for inspiration. They were ready, "as long as we're not confined to dishwashing and scrubbing vegetables(!)", quoted Z. (help!)

With that, the Smaller decided on a theme; a tummy filling, blog occupying experiment for the summer, if their time and my patience permitted. Groundrules not set in stone, went something like this; they pick out recipe to their liking, assist me to clean/cut/cook/bake/clean again, which means I grant freedom (discretionary, of course) to use sharp objects and stove (help again!). If it's good, I should be obliged to share it over here with you. I agreed with a casual hmm-murmur, my eyes masking the many desperate and dangerous scenes I had flashing in sequence. But it made sense and had me proud, mama of theirs, after all, if (?) it went right, they make for the most faithful kitchen comrades, an answer to the hairpulling that ensues when trying to figure out worthy lunch menus that need to translate for a qualifying recipeshare. It could also be the solution for my son's innate desire to rollercoaster anyone/anything in a swivel chair.

A and Z crouched over cookbooks and fiddled through magazines, foraged library shelves to find something they would love to eat and I would love to rattle on about. It was when A, my first child endowed with the keenest appreciation for spice, decidedly went on a pursuit for the perfect Indian french fry that brought her to the pages of Neelam Batra's Chili's To Chutneys. From her book came a treasure trove of goodies. So many ideas! But our eureka moment was, no doubt, on finding french fries, that too, touched with chaat, all too appealing for my 13 year old Indian gourmand and way too easy for me to resist.

Not to end there, I seized the opportunity to make most of my Help's newfound cooperativeness, with a suggestion to better-up the fries, by baking ours. Getting the yes's was a cinch, especially given the vision that operating knives and fire would be in their near future. Setup was a breeze and the station for peeling our couple pounds of potatoes seemed  swifter owing to the four hands added on to my two.

With a fair sprinkle of garlic, we supplemented our new favorite flavoring; do meet Chaat Masala. A superconglomerate of spice powders + zing that produces that true gastro- exotic experience. Just a sidenote, and yes, you heard it from me, considering the ease in which this plate and many others can be flavored using this grand mix of ground magic, you are definitely better off buying chaat than producing the stuff from scratch. It could be my own lack of knowledge in this spice roast/ grind skill, but authentic can be purchased in packets of 100 gms. Easy, simple and right at your arm's reach.  So, if you can't locate a single Indian grocer near you, look at what I found here.

After the high temperature roast, results were stunning and all batches came out wondrously good, much to gloatingly happy kid faces. With the fragrance of chaat and garlic, our stockyset "fries" were beautiful in their imperfections.

I seasoned the weighty, crisp-soft strands with chopped serranos and cilantro. Believe me, it adds considerable merit to the overall, so I beg you not to omit (just seed off peppers, if fear grips).

Magnifying the whole show even more was our three ingredient mayo, apt completion to this recipe's  impressive turnout. The salmon colored dip is a must accompaniment, which also could work as an allpurpose, noteworthy condiment, the smooth velvet punched in with meaningful measure of chili garlic sauce ( I urge you, Sriracha junkies, bottle up!).

I hope you fall for this as much as we three did. My summer meetups with you may be errant, but rest assured I'll bring in tow only that which classifies as utterfantastic, of the mustmakenow category. Definitely enough to have you instant songwrite, possibly do a happy dance, maybe to the tune of another language

Baked Fries~
(Adapted with modifications from Neelam Batra's Chilis To Chutneys, French Fries with Chaat Masala)
  • 6 medium potatoes, preferably russet
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp chaat masala
  • salt (if needed, most likely chaat masala has salt as an ingredient)
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 2 serrano peppers chopped fine
Helper hands  of my A, who came up with the recipe. 
  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Clean and scrub outside of  potatoes. Cut lengthwise into wedges, about 1" thick. I leave skins on.
  • Toss wedges with garlic powder, chaat masala and salt to flavor .
  • Coat a  foil lined baking tray(s) with cooking spray. Spread fries in a single layer and spray over another coat of cooking spray.
  • Roast for 30-40 minutes, turning wedges over halfway through.
  • Meanwhile heat oil in a small saucepan and lightly fry the chopped serranos and cilantro.
  • Top fries with the fried mixture.
  • Serve with chili mayo.
~How much a yield has to do with how big your slices. Cutting lengthwise to a width of roughly  one inch creates around 36-40 fries.
Chili Mayo~
  • ½ c mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp Sriracha or any chili garlic sauce (please adjust to tolerance/taste)
  • 2 tsp rice wine vinegar
Taken by Z, who loves to be behind the camera, more than in front.
  • In bowl, whisk all ingredients until well combined.
  • Serve side with the fries.
And where has time gone? Only yesterday we started off the season, downing copious amounts of lemonade and tearing through chutney in bread. 

I see much summer potential for these golden wedges. In greased foil, they can be thrown on the grill and served as side to most grilling meats and fish.
 "But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."  2 Corinthians 12:7-10


  1. That is such a lovely post.These little things are going to be their cherished memories when they grow up :)

    1. Thank you Meena, despite several cleanups and possible burn hazard, they did have fun and so did I.

  2. Wow Tisa the fries looks delicious and I know its such a joy to have the little ones to help you :-) Making memories!

    1. Thanks Rekha. After this I think I'll do more with them, i think ?!

  3. Awwww you make these events golden my friend :)
    Like these incredibly flavoured fries!

    Choc Chip Uru

  4. tisa, you seem to always worry about ur haphazard posts... dun worry, we all wait to see a post of yours, so be calm and do it at your pace!!! :) even chaat masala is my new found love, i sprinkle it into everything that i make, but then our mallu tongues take a little time to get adjusted to the tanginess... :) great to c ur daughter at help... and wedges+mayo combination = killing!!!

    1. Thank you Rafeeda. coming from you that means a lot, friend. Especially since you're of the 1000 idea per week type:)) Yes, chaat took some getting used to, but now we love it!

  5. Loved the flavors and the dip totally

  6. Such a nice recipe:) Yummy and tempting:) Loved the clicks :)
    Come and participate in my event and giveaway and awards:)

  7. I love the flavor from chaat masala & love your fries. I can finish off that cute lill bowl.

  8. perfect dip for the perfect starter..esp with the chat flavour. nice one,and great clicks too Tisa. thanks for ur lovely words..y dont u drop by my "pick quicks" blog too when u get the time. some tips on "sane motherhood" in there..lets stay connected beyond the kitchen as well..

  9. the dip looks amazingly flavorful, can gulp down the whole batch of these wedges with this dip... yum :-)


Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!