Jumbo french fries (and muhammara)


A big thank you and hug to all of you who have reassured me in the previous post: Thanks Khalil, Arthur, Domi, Hegui, Gaininja, Diane, Fiona,  and Murasaki for setting me straight! I can now eat the rest of the box of these baby eels. (They do look cute, with their little eyes protruding).

This is an idea  from Chef Thomas Boullault  that I thought was fun! Take some potatoes, cut them in big logs and cook them in barely simmering water. Then drain them and fry them.

The advantage here is:

A. Less oil, less frying time, healthier

B. Less work. The fries are tender inside and crispy outside.

I barely had time for taking pictures as hands were flying over me to grab some and they were gone with a mention: “Best fries, mom, ever!”.


  • 2 large potatoes suitable for frying (or more)
  • oil for frying (3 cups or more)
  • Muhammara: 2 red peppers (fresh or in a jar); if using fresh, peel the peppers
  • 1/2 cup of red pepper paste
  • 1/4 cup of ketchup
  • 4 cloves of garlic, cut up
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of pomegranate molasses
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
  • salt, pepper, to taste


  1. Peel the potatoes and cut off the rounded ends (use for a soup); cut into large batons, with a straight edge. Store in a large bowl with water until ready to cook.
  2. Heat a two-quart pot with water, a dash of salt, and a spice of your choice (star anise, peppercorns, etc). Add the potatoes and maintain the water at a bare simmer (the bubbles will not erupt on the surface). Check after 20 minutes, to see if the potatoes are cooked. Drain (keep the water for soup or making bread) and let the potatoes air-dry.
  3. Make the muhammara: place all the ingredients in the bowl of a processor; process for a minute and check to taste, adding one or more of one ingredients or another. Transfer to a small bowl.
  4. Heat the oil to 360F and gently drop the potatoes; fry for a few minutes till golden. Drain of the excess oil on paper towels and serve with the muhammara sauce.

NOTE: You can season the water that the potatoes cook in with a spice, throw in some pink peppercorns or some star anise or whatever.

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  1. Posted March 16, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Permalink


    Next time try it with fish sauce I am sure you will adore it!
    Fish sauce can be a bit stinky but the flavor it imparts to food is amazing. There is a claim that garum a sauce popular in gone times around the Mediterranean was identical to fish sauce. It lost its popularity to cured anchovies.

    Great idea using Muhammara as dipping sauce for this chunky potato fries. Can’t wait to have our kitchen back :)


  2. Posted March 16, 2011 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    what a great idea! id like to think they are healthier but … hot chips can never be healthy (while being nice at the same time)

    the dip sounds wonderful though, thanks for sharing :O)

  3. Posted March 16, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    These do look like the best fries ever, and the Muhammara as dipping sauce is a must try. It’s been awhile since I made fries, I usually oven fry them (no deep fryer) :D

  4. Posted March 16, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    These do look like fabulous chips. My husband uses a similar par-boiling method to make his sensational roast potatoes (he par-boils them, drains them, shakes them about in the saucepan to rough up the edges and then puts them into a roasting tray with oil preheated in it-absolutely amazing). The muhammara looks fabulous too. Not sure that I could source red pepper paste though, I know I couldn’t locally. I want to try to get to a middle eastern grocery on a visit to Sydney sometime.

  5. Posted March 16, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    Next time I want fries, I am making these. They look amazing, and the use of muhammra as a dipping sauce is brilliant!

  6. Posted March 16, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful, gourmet frites!

  7. Posted March 16, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    Those fries/logs look absolutely inviting and so does the sauce.

  8. Posted March 17, 2011 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    Joumana, even your french fries are art, like a little potato Stonehenge.

  9. Posted March 17, 2011 at 2:19 am | Permalink

    I’m with you on boiled fries – a friend taught me the trick years ago. Par-boiled potatoes seem to retain moisture when fried so they don’t get soggy that quickly either. And thanks for sharing the muhammara recipe – now I can make my own :)

  10. Posted March 17, 2011 at 3:15 am | Permalink

    Wow, that sauce sounds incredible! Aha! Might have to crack open that bottle of pomegranate molasses! Think I’ll roast the potatoes instead, even though they won’t make nearly as impressive a fortress as yours.

  11. Posted March 17, 2011 at 3:30 am | Permalink

    That is an awesome combination, yummy!



  12. Posted March 17, 2011 at 4:41 am | Permalink

    I love the technique you teach us in the post for perfect French fries. I am even more intrigued by the muhammara, it sounds amazing. I don’t know if I can get pepper paste here, can I just make it? Re the silverfish, thank you for your mention. I was just guessing as I have never had Vietnamese silverfish. Maybe I just wanted to convince myself that they couldn’t be the kind of silverfish we get in homes? ;o)

  13. Posted March 17, 2011 at 5:14 am | Permalink

    Yes, I agree the dipping sauce looks amazing, and I am sure it tasted good with the fries. A nice and easy recipe.

  14. Posted March 17, 2011 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    The massive fries look inviting enough on their own, but the thought of having them with muhammara is heavenly. Love the jenga-eqsue stacking too :D

  15. Posted March 17, 2011 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Looking good Joumana! I’ve always made fries this way except, I usually throw salt in with the soaking water. Soak, rinse, soak, dry, fry.

    For me, that sauce sounds amazing and is totally new to me!!! what rock have I been under. Definitely a keeper!!!

    Thank you so much for sharing…

  16. Posted March 17, 2011 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Oh i love these!!!

  17. Posted March 17, 2011 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    I eat french fries like crazy, when I am not on a diet which unfortunately is not very often! These look fabulous and the muhammara goes great with them!

  18. Posted March 17, 2011 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Very addictive french fries, sooooo tempting!

  19. Posted March 17, 2011 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Look at those! They look amazing and I’m sure they taste even better… homemade french fries are the best.

  20. Posted March 17, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Great tip on cooking the fries, and the muhammara sounds amazing! – S

  21. Posted March 17, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    I am having some friends coming over and they are sucker for dips. They like to dip anything and everything. This will be perfect recipe to surprise them. Thank you Joumana.

  22. Posted March 17, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    What a wonderful idea for kids!!! I love homemade fries!

  23. Posted March 17, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Bonsoir Joumana, un plat qui a la frite avec cette sauce originalement délicieuse…à nous faire rougir de plaisir, bisous et bonne soirée

  24. Laurel
    Posted March 17, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    Yum! This sauce looks so tasty and unique. I’d love for you to submit this to the M&T Spotlight at http://www.makeandtakes.com/spotlight

  25. Posted March 18, 2011 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    rien ne vaut de vraies bonnes frites maison !!!

    bises et bon vendredi gourmand

  26. Posted March 18, 2011 at 4:57 am | Permalink

    A friend of ours cooks his chips like that (Brits call fries, ‘chips’ which can get very confusing! :) ) and I just love them. I much prefer a fat chip to a thin McDonald’s style French fry.

  27. Posted March 18, 2011 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    What a brilliant use of muhammara! I’m a complete fool for french fries and love frying at home, love your thick cut ones :)

  28. Posted March 18, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much for this recipe. My little one is so into french fries that I try to falsify fries by oven fries. I have not tried boiling then frying. We’re also big fans of muhamarra. Thanks for another great post:) Have a great weekend.

  29. Posted March 18, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    The taters look easy enough … but i’m betting it’s that dipping sauce that really sealed the deal. Cheers!

  30. Posted March 18, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    I love a good fry and I’ll try par-boiling them first. Fries with red peppers…yum – I’m in!

  31. Posted March 20, 2011 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    The Muhammara looks deadly delicious. Must make it. Never heard of it. YUM!

  32. Posted March 21, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    J, this is my ultimate comfort food. during the monsoons in Lahore, this is the sort of appetiser we would have with our afternoon tea. this, and samosas, sitting on the terrace at home- and the whole whole would be right. love carbs w spicy dips. delicious. x shayma

  33. Posted April 8, 2011 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    These look so delicious, I’m thinking I’ll have to go make some now!

One Trackback

  1. By I Resolve to Cook « Cozy, Delicious on December 30, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    [...] always loved Muhammara, a zesty, rich pepper-filled spread. This version from Taste of Beirut has been on my to-make list [...]

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