The sweet potato is not a regular feature on the menu rotation in our house for various reasons. Top of the list is that I didn’t think I liked them. That is, until I made fries in coconut oil yesterday!
~If you’d like to skip to the recipe, you can find it mid-way down the page. Before that, I talk about the smoke point of cooking oils and why I chose to use coconut oil for this recipe.~
It was Antonios’s birthday yesterday, Happy Birthday! So I set out to make meals and snacks that would delight. Since Antonios likes sweet potatoes and seems to like anything I make with coconut oil, I set out to master the sweet potato fry for his birthday dinner.
Side note unrelated to recipe: I must admit that ever since Dan Quayle spelled “potatoe” incorrectly in the early 90’s, I always have to look up the spelling of potato, potatoes, tomato, and tomatoes before I hit publish on a post just to be sure I’ve got the spelling correct. Am I the only one?
Back to the sweet potatoes…
In preparation for the birthday fries I read many recipes, and was surprised that there were none that seemed exactly right. So I took my favorite parts of all the recipes I read, and ta-da….
Sweet Potato Fries, fried in coconut oil, salted with Himalayan sea salt.
Why coconut oil?
In general, when we are choosing an oil, we consider the type of fat as well as the temperature we are going to be cooking.
Type of fat – looking at things like monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, saturated. Are the fats medium chain triglycerides, long-chain, or very long chain triglycerides.
Temperature – some oils are best drizzled over dishes after the cooking process or in salads (for example olive oil, which has a chemical structure that does not hold up well in cooking), and others can withstand higher heats (for example coconut oil)
In addition to being a good option for higher heat cooking, studies have shown coconut oil to have a number of benefits including:
- can have a positive effect on hormones (including thyroid function)
- supports our bodies’ immune system health
- may help fight off yeast, including candida
- supports healthy metabolism (and weight loss when needed)
- and coconut oil has a saturated fat called lauric acid, which has been shown to increase the good HDL cholesterol in the blood to help improve cholesterol ratio levels.
Here’s a link to the Dr. Oz and to the Dr. Mercola blogs which have more data, studies, and information about the benefits of coconut oil. And if you want even more information about the benefits of coconut oil, Helen Nichols from well-beingsecrets.com wrote up a comprehensive list of benefits in her article on coconut oil.
Where can you get coconut oil? There are many brands of coconut oil on the market, and quality does matter. There are a couple of brands we use: Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil (which you can find online) and Dr. Bonners (which you can find at Whole Foods).
Here’s the Recipe for Sweet Potato Fries cooked in Coconut Oil…
If you are planning to try this, set aside an hour the first time you make them for prep, cooking, and clean up. (and about 2 minutes to eat them!) This recipe is written for those of us with just about no frying experience.
– Sweet potato (2 pounds)
– Coconut oil (14 ounce jar)
– Himalayan sea salt
Plus, you’ll also need
– Big bowl with ice water
– Paper bags
If you have a skillet or a deep fryer, then you’ll have some real fun with these fries. If you do not, don’t fret, I used a regular pan, which worked out fine. I filled the pan with about 6 tablespoons of coconut oil to start and let the oil warm up on medium heat while I peeled the sweet potatoes.
As I peeled and cut the potatoes, I put the fry shaped pieces into a big bowl of ice water. I read that people put their peeled sweet potatoes through a fry cutter, but since I don’t have one, I just used a knife (and patience).
Once the sweet potatoes were cut, I dried them off with a towel and it was time to fry them. I read a few recipes that recommended frying twice, and that was good advice!
Frying round 1
Move the heat up to medium-high. Once it is good and hot, cook for 3 minutes then drain on the paper bags.
hint: cook in batches so each fry gets covered in oil
Frying round 2
Make sure there is enough oil in the pan to cover the fries. If you had to add oil, heat it all together to get the heat in the pan back up, and this time make it even hotter. I cooked these on almost-high (went to the highest and then backed off just a tad; I was aiming for that perfect balance of crispy not burnt). If you do have a skillet with a thermomater, the general consensus in the recipes I read was to bring the second round up to 375 degrees. Cook for 4 minutes and then move them to a paper bag to salt and let drain.
I sprinkled the himalayan sea salt onto the fries when they were just out of the pan, so the salt really stayed on the fries. It only takes a couple of minutes for them to cool of and be ready to eat!
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