What Are Deep-Fried Chips?

B. Leslie Baird

The term "deep-fried chips" can have different definitions depending on the geographical location. In the United States, for example, deep-fried chips are commonly pieces of a potato that has been cut into thin round sections and then fried in oil. In the United Kingdom, the same fried potato will be longer and thicker, similar to the definition of a french fry in the U.S. The deep-frying process consists of cooking the food submerged in extremely hot oil.

Deep-fried potato chips.
Deep-fried potato chips.

Terminology used for food items differs around the world. In the U.S., when the word "chip" is used, it usually refers to a a very thin and crisp piece of food, such as a potato chip or tortilla chip. Fries are created with longer sections of potato. A potato chip might be fried or baked. This same type of thinly sliced potato might be called a crisp in other locations.

Deep-fried chips can contain zucchini or squash.
Deep-fried chips can contain zucchini or squash.

Deep-frying itself can be done in somewhat different methods. Normally, a wire basket is submerged into hot cooking oil until the food becomes golden brown. Food also can be placed directly into hot oil and scooped out with a slotted spoon.

Chips that are cooked in a deep fryer are made with various types of oil.
Chips that are cooked in a deep fryer are made with various types of oil.

A second method involves frying the food twice. The basket is first submerged into a lower temperature oil to blanch the item. After draining and cooling, it is then placed in a hotter oil to create a crisp exterior.

There are numerous variations of french fries or deep-fried chips. Shoestring fries are cut extremely thin, resembling a shoelace. A crinkle-cut is a potato piece that has a wavy surface down its length. The term "curly fry" refers to a potato cut in a spiral pattern. Steak fries are another style of a fried potato and are most often very thick, long cuts of potato.

An Australian recipe for deep-fried chips calls for long sections of potato pieces to be fried twice. The first time the pieces are fried for about five minutes. The chips are allowed to cool and then fried a second time for seven to 10 minutes, until they are crisp and golden.

The choices of the oils used for frying can also vary by location. Vegetable oil, canola oil, sunflower-seed oil and peanut oil all add different flavor to the final product. In some areas, cooks will even use lard when making deep-fried chips.

Other types of deep-fried chips can include zucchini or squash chips, sweet potato chips and tortilla chips. Deep frying pieces of tortillas will create very crisp and puffy chips. Fried chips can make a healthy snack when cooked in oils that are low in saturated fats.

Potato chips can be either fried or baked.
Potato chips can be either fried or baked.

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