Nobody can resist a salty, crunchy potato chip. (Hence the famous campaign of “You can’t eat just one!”) But you know what’s even more irresistible? Homemade potato chips! Sweet potatoes make especially delicious chips since their sweetness provides a natural contrast for salt and spices. And as long as you cut the potatoes as thinly as possible, you’ll wind up with quick-cooking, crisp chips. Using an appropriate cooking oil is also of the essence since you don’t want scorched chips, plus of course using an unrefined oil is better for your health.
I tested these chips with three kinds of cooking oils: coconut, ghee, and unrefined peanut. All of them worked splendidly, but the peanut seemed to do the best job from the standpoint of creating the crispiest chip. For whatever reason, the chips didn’t seem to absorb much of the peanut oil; they simply bubbled and cooked through. Once I had poured in just enough oil to get started, in fact, I didn’t have to add any more, not even after multiple batches of chip-making. So my vote goes for unrefined peanut oil.
DIY Sweet Potato Chips
Cut peeled or unpeeled sweet potatoes into very thin slices. (I used white sweet potatoes; red or orange would be equally fantastic.) If you have a mandoline and are brave about using it, by all means use that to cut your potatoes. I am a wimp when it comes to mandolines and would rather use a chef’s knife. Pour/add just enough unrefined peanut oil OR ghee OR coconut oil into the bottom of a small skillet to completely cover the bottom. (The smaller the skillet, the less oil you need to cover the bottom.) Heat over medium-low heat — I go with mark 3 or 4 out of 10 on my electric stove — for at least 2 minutes before sliding in the first few potato slices. Add as many as can comfortably fit into the skillet without overlapping. You might like to have multiple small skillets going to speed up the chip-making.
It’ll take about 2 minutes for the chips to brown around the edges. When they do, carefully flip each one over with heat-proof tongs. Note: if the peanut oil starts to burble furiously, turn down the heat a notch! While the chips cook, lay out a folded paper towel. After another 2 minutes of cooking, lift up a chip to see if it’s golden-brown on both sides. If it is, remove to the paper towel; if not, cook for another minute before checking out your chip again.
Repeat process until all the potato slices have become chips. Place in a large bowl and toss gently with sea salt and any other seasonings you might like. Black pepper, dill, and chili powder all make excellent chip seasonings, although I used Ethiopian berbere on mine. Eat immediately, while the chips are at their crispiest.
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