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.
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
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.