When I first moved to Australia, it seemed to me that Australians ate some rather strange things. There was that strange, incredibly salty, unappetisingly-coloured spread called Vegemite. Then there was the funny powder they sprinked over their French fries called ‘chicken salt’. Huh?
So when I was first introduced to deep-fried potato wedges dipped in an unlikely combination of sour cream and sweet chilli sauce, my first reaction was another, “What?” But after the first bite of piping-hot potato chip contrasted with the tart flavour of sour cream and tangy chilli, I was immediately hooked.
I soon learnt there’s nothing more comforting on a cold winter’s night than a bowl of hot potato wedges. Mmm, carbs. Better still, the supermarkets’ freezer section stocked bags of the stuff, ready to be heated up in the oven.
Unfortunately I found the frozen wedges a bit pricey as I was living in near-poverty as a university student. Besides, I reasoned, I shouldn’t be paying that much for sliced potatoes mixed with some flavouring and spices. But what do you do when you need to feed a new-found food addiction?
You get creative. As the saying goes, Necessity is the mother of Invention. Or in my case, re-invention.
So I took to the kitchen and began experimenting, hoping to re-create that store-bought taste. A few tries later, I had a satisfactory result. While it didn’t taste exactly like the ready-made frozen wedges, it was good enough for me. In fact, I haven’t bought the frozen version since.
This recipe is fairly quick and easy to make, requiring only about 15-20 minutes of prep time, and another 20 minutes in the oven. I discovered that boiling the potatoes beforehand not only cuts down the cooking time in the oven, it gives the potatoes a crumbly texture that’s similar to deep-frying. So you get the next best thing to the sinful deep-fried stuff, minus the soaking in trans-fats and extra calories from the cooking oil.
Quick and Easy Potato Wedges
Serves 2, or 1 hungry person
2 medium potatoes
2 tbsp/30ml extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp Cajun spice seasoning mix
1 tsp sea salt
sweet chilli sauce
Preheat oven or grill to 180°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper or parchment (optional, but helps clean-up).
The potatoes can be peeled or cooked with the skin on depending on personal preference. Slice potatoes into thick wedges and place in a large saucepan. Add enough water to cover the potatoes. Cover the pan and bring to a boil, and cook for about five minutes until the potatoes are still firm but just cooked. (This process is similar to the quick-steaming method posted earlier on this blog).
Watch the pan as it will boil dry rather quickly. When the potatoes are cooked, drain any remaining water. Add the olive oil to the potatoes and toss through. Add the salt and Cajun spice mix. Toss through so that the wedges are coated evenly.
Spread the wedges in a single layer on the baking tray and bake for 20-30 minutes until browned and crispy. If cooked under a grill element, the potatoes will be crunchier and will require less cooking time. Turn the wedges over halfway during cooking.
Remove from oven and serve piping hot. If desired, stir equal parts sour cream and sweet chilli sauce together as a dip.