Get ready to embark on a delicious journey to Belgium without leaving your kitchen! We’re about to unlock the secrets to crafting the perfect Belgian French fries using the magic of your Air Fryer.
Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and bursting with flavor, these golden delights will transport your taste buds straight to frietkot (basically a stall) in the heart of Brussels. These are also the perfect side dish for so many recipes!
No, I am not using a deep-fryer or any vegetable oil here at all (Oh please no!), keep reading for some enlightenment…
- Potatoes (like…really?)
- Salt and spices of your preference.
- Spray Olive Oil*
* You can use any other oil, although I’d stay away from vegetable oils. Coconut oil is a good option too. If you choose to fry them in a pan, ideally, animal fat, like beef tallow would be the best choice.
How To Make the Belgian Fries in the Airfryer
Of course that this could be considered a Copycat recipe since I am not exactly following the ‘official’ instructions BUT, trust me, the result is amazing and infinitely healthier (check out my Air Fryer Baked Apples too).
Step 1 – Chunks
These are not thin fries, so cut the raw potato into thicker chunks.
Step 2 – Blanch
The actual secret is here, in the blanching. Just throw them into boiling water for about 5/7 min.
Step 3 – The Cold Bath
This is not only a good thing to do with yourself for your own health but also good for the fries, lol. Tranfer them to cold water.
Step 4 – Tap them dry
This is important. Now they need to drain and remove the excess water.
Step 5 – Air Fry
Let’s do our first fry. You’ll need to do small batches depending on the quantity, that’s the only downside I can see. But with my double Ninja it is not that much of a deal.
Spray with the oil of your preference. Initially, air fry for 10 min at 190-200 C (375 – 390 F).
Then shake them and add more oil and the spices you choose.
Step 6 – Double Air Fry
Let’s go for the ‘second fry’ and go for another 10 min or until there is some brown color popping out on the outside.
That’s it, serve and enjoy like the Belgium locals!
Here’s the result and yes, I can see this is not looking amazing like those ones posted on Instagram or Facebook :(. I am not THAT perfect I am afraid but hey! The taste is possibly better!
Now, for my kids, these won’t go in without some ketchup, mayonnaise or mustard… (massive eye-roll). But for me, there are more than tasty just like that. And so crispy!
Are French fries healthy?
French fries are not considered a healthy food choice because they are high in calories, unhealthy fats, and salt, while being low in essential nutrients. Regular consumption may contribute to weight gain and health issues.
Occasional indulgence is fine, but for a healthier option, consider alternatives like baked potato wedges or veggie sticks. Homemade fries can be made healthier with better oil choices and portion control.
Using an air fryer, while not an official recipe, is a way to make them healthier by using less oil and achieving a similar crispy texture.
What makes Belgian fries different?
Belgian fries, or frites, stand out for their distinctive qualities. By the book, they are typically made from high-starch potatoes, using a double-frying technique for a perfect contrast of a crispy exterior and a creamy interior.
They are cut thicker than fast-food fries and are often prepared with the skin left on, adding flavor and texture. Served in paper cones or bags, Belgian fries are accompanied by a wide range of dipping sauces. This culinary tradition is deeply ingrained in Belgian culture, with dedicated friteries and a unique way of serving and savoring these iconic fries.
However, you can make them at home and remove the nastiness of fried potatoes making them healthier.
What is the secret of Belgian fries?
Officially, the secret to making authentic Belgian fries, lies in:
- Using high-starch potato varieties like Bintje or Agria.
- Employing a double-frying technique for the perfect texture
- Cutting the fries thicker than fast-food versions
- Considering the option to leave the skin on, and serving them in traditional paper cones or bags.
- Offering a range of dipping sauces.
However, MY secret here is the blanching. A, let me tell you, I don’t swap the original result (which undoubtedly must be amazing to the taste buds!) for this healthier option.
Why are they called French Fries?
French fries are not originally from France; their name is a misnomer. The term “French fries” likely originated in the United States, where French culinary techniques were highly regarded in the 18th century. The exact origin of the name is still debated.
The history of fried potato slices can be traced back to either Belgium or France, with both countries claiming to have invented them.
In the Netherlands, they are known as “friet” or “patat“. And in France, they are called “pommes frites.”
In Holland, they funnily called them “war chips” which is the translation for the dutch term “Patatje oorlog”. It’s very popular and unique Dutch dish, often served in a cone or box, topped with a combination of sauces and onions. The name “oorlog” refers to the war-like mixture of condiments on the fries.
There is a popular, albeit unverified, theory that suggests that American soldiers during World War I were responsible for popularizing the term “French fries” in the United States. According to this theory, when American soldiers were stationed in Belgium during the war, they encountered the local fried potatoes.
While this theory is widely circulated, it’s important to note that there isn’t conclusive historical evidence to confirm this specific origin.
Are Belgian Fries Gluten Free?
All fries are typically gluten-free when prepared traditionally with potatoes, oil, and salt. However, caution is needed, especially with the sauces. Some specialty sauces served with Belgian fries may contain gluten-based ingredients or risk cross-contamination.
To ensure a gluten-free experience, it’s essential to inquire about the specific sauces and their ingredients at the restaurant or opt for gluten-free homemade sauces when enjoying Belgian fries at home.