Left-Brain / Right-Brain Cookery

A double-take in the kitchen

Sweet Potato Fries

A sweet potato is not a yam!
Sweet potatoes usually have an orange-red skin that is somewhat smooth with a colourful orange interior to match. Yams have a tough brown scaly skin with a starchy interior. True yams are used in African and Caribbean cooking and are often hard to source.
However just to add to the confusion, I have seen sweet potatoes labeled as yams in the produce department.

Smoky Sweet Potato Straws

Smoky Sweet Potato Straws By Left Brain Marilyn

These thin ‘n’ crisp fries are very more-ish as in “I want some more, please!” And here’s a spoiler alert, these fries are so delectable that any other sweet potato fry that you happen to encounter will not measure up to them!

200F/95C keep-warm oven
375F/190C frying temperature
Serves 4

2 lbs (1kg) sweet potatoes or 2 very large
4 cups (1 L) peanut or other frying oil, much more if using an electric fryer
About 1/4 cup (32 g) cornstarch
1 tsp (6g) smoked salt (see tip)*
1/8-1/4 tsp (0.5-1 mL) cayenne

  1. Peel and julienne sweet potatoes using a mandoline or food processor. Submerge potatoes in cold tap water for a couple of hours at room temperature or up to half a day if refrigerated.
  2. When almost ready to serve, drain and then dry potatoes very well by wrapping in a clean kitchen towel. Spread potatoes in a single layer on a paper towel. Using a small sieve, lightly dust with some of cornstarch. Toss to coat evenly.
  3. Heat oil for frying in an electric fryer or wide deep frying pan (I use a cast-iron chicken fryer). Using a thermometer, heat oil to 375F (190C). Line a baking pan with several layers of paper towel.
  4. Deep fry potatoes in batches for 2 to 4 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile, mix smoked salt and cayenne. Drain on paper towel lined baking pan; lightly season with smoked salt mixture. Keep warm in oven while finishing subsequent batches.

TIP: Smoked salt can be difficult – and expensive – to find, however it add a delicious depth of flavour. If you have a smoker, when using it for meats, simply tuck a small pan of coarse salt inside to pick up the smokiness. Even more uncomplicated is to take 1/2 cup (135g) of coarse salt and stir in 1 teaspoon (5 mL) of purchased liquid smoke, adding more flavouring if you want a very strong taste. Dry salt in a low oven or in a skillet (don’t use cast iron) over very low heat. Then rub with your fingers to separate; store airtight.



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