Yesterday was our anniversary (5 years and 7 months yeah!) I still cannot consider how time passes by quickly. It seems like we just met yesterday yet at some point I feel like have known him all my life and even the life before!
Since I had the day off, I wanted to prepare something special yet healthy and of course not time consuming (we all have that issue of time, I bet, don’t we?) I had potatoes in my pantry – I always have potatoes somewhere around the kitchen since there are so many things one can do with them– and after debating with myself of weather to do some quick potato salad or baked potatoes, someone inside me was yearning silently but with an increasing frequency for something spicy! While I was tempted to do Kenyan Chips Masala, I decided to give the recipe a few twists of my own hence making it healthier.
Chips Masala is basically French fries mixed with spicy-tomato-gravy-sauce and garnished with a bunch of fresh coriander and a touch of fresh squeezed lemon juice. Instead of deep-frying the fries, I baked them in the oven coated with garlic, rosemary and olive oil to get them nice and crispy and instead of mixing them with Masala sauce – I personally don’t like mushy Chips Masala as a result of the sauce – I covered them with the Masala Sauce.
Masala sauce calls for a generous use of tomatoes and a good measure of spices. The amazing array of spices and flavours combined with tomatoes and topped on crispy French fries does surely taste amazing! Sincerely speaking from yesterday’s experience, this was one of the best side dishes have made in a while. So many flavours from the Masala sauce, rather easy, and quick to put together, AND pretty healthy.
Ingredients for Oven Baked French Fries
1kg potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch french-fry strips
4 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, stripped off and minced if desired
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon salt
Ingredients for Masala Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil or any other cooking oil
3 green cardamoms, 1 bay leave, ½ cinnamon stick, 2 cloves and some cumin seeds
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 onion, finely chopped
3 aroma fresh tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon tomato paste
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon curry powder (I used the original Kenyan curry powder – simba mbili)
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon dhania powder
1 teaspoon crushed chillis
½ cup water
Salt to taste
A bunch of fresh chopped coriander
½ a lemon
First prepare the sauce by heating up oil in a medium pan over medium heat.
Add green cardamoms, bay leave, cinnamon stick, cloves and cumin seeds, let this whole spices blend with the oil while heating up. This will give the sauce a very nice and spicy aroma
Add finely chopped onions, minced ginger and garlic and toast till the onions have lightly browned evenly
Add fresh tomatoes together with the tomato paste and simmer till soft and pulpy
Lower the heat and add all the other spices and let the mixture simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid it from burning
Add water and salt and allow the mixture to simmer over very low heat for 30-45 minutes while stirring form time to time
Keep it warm till serving time
For a more silky texture, the sauce can also be pureed in a blender or food processor.
Preparing garlic and rosemary French fries
Mix together olive oil, garlic, rosemary and salt. Allow them to sit together for a while.
Preheat oven to 200 °c
Evenly distribute potato strips on a baking sheet and pour the olive oil mixture over them. Mix together till all the potato strips are coated with the olive oil mixture. Spread them in an even layer, place the pan in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until have acquired preferred brownness and crispiness
Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.
While serving, cover with Masala sauce and garnish with fresh coriander and a squeeze some lemon juice on top.