Chips, proper potato chips.  Crispy, tasty and not as bad for you as they say…

Safety first:  Never leave a chip pan unattended.  Should the worst happen and the oil catches fire, use a damp tea towel to smother the flames.  So long as you use a big enough pan, this is unlikely to happen. But, just in case…

Image of chips here

You need the right potatoes.  Maris Piper, or King Edwards.  Maris are the best.

Peel them, one large potato per hungry person, slice into 1cm or less using the bridge method then lay the slices down on top of each other, square up one end and slice at right-angles to create the classic shape.  Lay out a tea towel next to your board, and put the chips on that.  Continue slicing until you have enough chips.  Then rub them dry in the towel.

In Scotland they make excellent chips.  Our Scottish grandad adds an extra stage by soaking the raw chips (before drying) in salted water.  If you’re planning ahead and have the time this makes a small improvement – maybe.  It keeps the chips white until you are ready to use them, anyway.

Some people swear by beef dripping or lard, I like sunflower oil.  You need half a litre per person or per large spud, with a minimum of 1 litre.  You need a pan that can hold three times as much oil as you plan to use, or your oil will boil over in the second high heat stage.

Now heat the oil in your 1/3 full pan until a chip dropped in has small lazy bubbles forming around it as it sits under the oil.  Add the rest of the chips, and away down goes the heat to low.  Cook until the chips are soft and still white.  Now fish them out with a slotted spoon or fish slice into your sieve that can sit across the top of the pan.

Whack up the heat.  Hot as it goes.  Get the oil hot enough so when you drop in a chip this time, it seethes with bubbles that push it right up to the surface.  Carefully put the rest of the chips in to join him.  The oil will bubble up high.  Now you know why you needed that big pan.  After a minute or two, gently lift and separate the chips, one from ‘tother.  At this point I would start cooking my eggs…

Give the occasional encouragement to the chips to float separate while they brown.

Lift them out into the sieve again, and shake off the drops of oil.  Dish up and eat.

Once the oil is cold, funnel it back into your bottle for next time.  Note how much you’ve lost.  Done right, chips use less oil than you’d expect – and there’s that film around the pan and on the sieve to account for too.