Saturday, 25 July 2009

Spicy, Super-Crunchy Garlic Potato Wedges with Roast Pepper Dip

Potato wedges are much loved by the teens in my house, who will happily eat them every day, and thank goodness for that, because they (the wedges, not the teens) are so easy to make and packed full of energy and nourishment.

Spicy, Super-Crunchy Garlic Potato Wedges with Roast Pepper Dip
On my quest for the perfect wedge, fluffy on the inside, rustly and super- crunchy without, I have found that they do need to be parboiled first (read more on this subject).

But what a pain in the neck it is to wait for a pot of water to boil! So when I spotted a packet of sturdy, ziplocking microwave steaming bags in my supermarket, I decided to try a new method.

(If you don't hold with microwave ovens, for whatever reason - don't get me started on that subject! - feel free to parboil the wedges in the normal way, or, if plastic is your bugbear, use a lidded glass dish to microwave the spuds.)

For ultra-crunchiness, I tossed the wedges in channa (chickpea) flour and some mild aromatic spices. You can find chickpea flour in Indian supermarkets or spice shops. (If you're in a real hurry, and live in South Africa, use Pakco Chilli-Bite Mix in place of the spices and channa flour; that is what I used the first time I made these). Or use any herbs and spices of your choice.

Spicy, Super-Crunchy Garlic Potato Wedges with Roast Pepper Dip
These wedges stay crunchy for hours after they've come out of the oven, and don't turn leathery, as wedges that have not been parcooked tend to do.  You do need a fan-assisted oven to achieve this level of crunch, it must be said. I've tried these in an oven without a fan, and they just weren't the same.

The dip, a variation on my Aunt Gilly's sublime red pepper sauce, has a mild, sweet smoky flavour that pairs beautifully with the spicy wedges. These are also nice with a creamy dip made of a third Hellman's mayonnaise and two-thirds thick Greek yoghurt, mixed together with a little crushed garlic and a generous squeeze of lemon juice.

Spicy, Crunchy Garlic Potato Wedges with Roast Pepper Dip

First make the dip:
2 large red peppers (capsicums/bell peppers)
2 large yellow peppers
4 cloves garlic, peeled
4 Tbsp (60 ml) olive oil
a squeeze of lemon juice
salt and freshly milled black pepper

Heat the oven to 190°C. Using the point of a sharp knife, cut a 1-cm slit in the side of each pepper, and push a whole clove of garlic into each pepper. Put the peppers directly on the hot oven racks (with a drip tray beneath) and roast for 35 to 40 minutes or so, or until they are very soft and the skin is blistered, but not charred. Place on a plate, cover with another plate, and allow to cool for 15 minutes. (Put the potato wedges in the oven in the meantime; see below). Pull off the stalks, peel away the skin, slice the peppers open and scrape out the seeds with the back of a knife. Put the now-softened whole garlic cloves and the flesh of the peppers into the goblet of a liquidiser or a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the olive oil and process to a smooth sauce. Add a squeeze of lemon juice - just enough to give the dip a little zing - season with salt and pepper, stir well and decant into a bowl.

For the potatoes:
6 medium potatoes, rinsed
4 cloves garlic, peeled
4 T (60 ml) olive oil
1 ½ tsp (7.5 ml) ground cumin
1 ½ tsp(7.5 ml mild curry powder
½ tsp (2.5 ml) ground coriander
1 tsp (5 ml) chilli flakes (optional)
4 tsp (20 ml) channa [chickpea] flour
salt and freshly milled black pepper

Turn the oven up to 200°C and switch the fan on. Cut the potatoes into slim, even wedges (I use this wonderful potato-dividing device that produces even wedges in a jiffy). Put them into a sealable microwave cooking bag (or a glass dish). Add a single garlic clove, roughly sliced, and a good pinch of salt. Close the seal tightly (or cover with a lid). Microwave for 6-8 minutes, on high, or until the wedges are just tender on the outside. (Alternatively, cook them in rapidly boiling salted water for 6-7 minutes.)  Allow to stand for a minute.

Pour the olive oil into the bag (or dish). Crush the three remaining garlic cloves directly into the bag, and add the cumin, curry powder, coriander, chilli flakes and channa flour.

Reseal the bag and toss its contents around gently so that every wedge is completely coated. Tip the wedges onto a baking sheet, making sure that they are skin-side down, and season with salt and pepper. Bake at 200°C, with the fan on, for 25-35 minutes (depending on your oven) or until they are very crisp and golden.

Serve, in cones of newspaper, with red pepper dip.

Serves 6 as a side dish and 8 as a snack.

Spicy, Super-Crunchy Garlic Potato Wedges on Foodista
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cindy said...

Better than any I had in Mauritius and I thought those were fab!!! My kids ate these with sweet chilli sauce and christened them Swilly Wedgies.

Anju said...

I found your blog on the foodies blogroll. These wedges look yummy! Love the pictures that you take.

Rose&Thorn said...

I can not tell you how I appreciate this recipe. I love spicy wedges, but never get the crispy thing going. Like you, I have teenage boys filling my house, so this will work a treat.

Juno said...

Thank you all for the kind comments. They made my day!

Carrie said...

I've tried something similar before but haven't gotten it right. Thanks for sharing! These look so good!

Jeanne said...

Oh WOW! I never seem to get my wedges crispy - may give your recipe a whirl!

Juno said...

Thanks Carrie and Jeanne. Hope the recipe works for you!

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Michael Rolfe said...

Teens are pretty easy to make; it's the upkeep that kills you.