This version of French fries is a popular dish in Chinese restaurants and was eaten a lot during the cultural revolution because of the food shortage. My mom learned this dish from one of her friends from China and I must say – it’s much more delicious than Americanized French fries (even the ones from restaurants that triple-fry them!) The ingredients are very easy to access – in fact, you will probably have the majority of them in your pantry! Julienne potatoes, Chinese style are great for parties because they don’t require much time to prepare and the presentation of the matchstick-like potatoes is very ascetically pleasing.
Julienne Potatoes (or Chinese french fries)
Ingredients (this can easily be doubled, tripled, etc):
1 – 2 jalapeño peppers
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2-3 cloves of garlic
White pepper and salt to taste
First things first, peel the skin from the potatoes and begin thinly slicing the potato lengthwise:
After slicing the potato lengthwise, lay the pieces flat on a cutting board and cut them again (to make matchstick-like pieces of potatoes). If you have a mandolin, I’m guessing it will be a LOT easier, but I don’t have that luxury so I cut my potatoes very carefully:
Immediately soak them in cold water:
The cold water removes starch from the potatoes and prevents them from browning. Wash the julienned potatoes until the water is clear:
Next, remove the top of the jalapeño pepper, cut the pepper in half, and remove the seeds:
Then slice the jalapeño into thin slices lengthwise:
I suggested to my mom that she should wear gloves while cutting up the jalapeño peppers to prevent the oils from seeping into her fingers, but she said it would be faster to just cut them up without gloves. She’s quite a superwoman, I tell ya.
Next, heat up a pan and add a tablespoon of peanut oil (or oil of your choice) to the bottom then dump in your potatoes:
After stir-frying for a couple of minutes so the potatoes can all get a little coated with peanut oil and heated up, add your jalapeño and apple cider vinegar:
And then your minced garlic (I minced up about 50 bulbs of garlic for a party we had so I had a buttload left for this dish and didn’t need to mince anymore):
Stir fry until the potatoes start to brown a bit and serve:
The potatoes have a slightly crispy exterior but are very soft on the inside and have a slightly sour taste from the apple cider vinegar that makes this dish so delicious to eat. After we prepared a batch for a party we had one weekend, I insisted we make more because I loved this dish so much.
2 potatoes – $.50
1 – 2 jalapeño peppers – $.50
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar – $.10
2-3 cloves of garlic – $.10
White pepper and salt to taste – free
Total: $1.20 – definitely enough for 3 people!