It is hard to explain to someone who has never had daal with crispy potato fry, how good it is. It all sounds very simple until you really give it a try. The cut and fry has to be just perfect.
Digha a beach town close to Kolkata is a regular vacationing spot for most Bongs. We used to also go there for our Zoology field trips. None of those visits were complete without the visit to Parijat and Baluchari restaurants in Digha. They were known for their seafood and more for their crispy potato fries. They were what we used to call “plate system” where you choose the type of meal and they would ensure your plate is never empty. However, they soon imposed the upper limit on the fries as people would go on asking for it.
I had to impose a similar upper limit when I made the same fries. My daughter was unstoppable.
- 4 medium sized potatoes
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Ice cold water
- Oil for deep frying
Peel the potato and cut it into thin round slices. Now with a sharp knife cut them into juliennes. You will have to cut the potato very thinly and evenly. Make sure to dunk them in water as soon as you cut them.
Once you are all done with cutting wash them thoroughly and dunk them in ice cold water for about 15 minutes. Drain the water and again dip the potato juliennes in another set of ice cold water for 20-30 minutes. This time add half a teaspoon of turmeric powder in it.
Drain the water and spread the potatoes on a paper under fan to make them completely dry.
Take enough oil in a deep wok and heat it till it smokes. Add a handful of potato juliennes in hot oil at a time and keep it stirring continuously with a slotted spoon for even cooking. It also prevents formation of any lumps.
Continue frying them in the hot oil. It takes about 3-4 minutes for the potatoes to become crispy. Now reduce the heat and remove them with a slotted spoon. Drain them on a paper towel.
Sprinkle salt just before serving. Alubhaja tastes best with hot rice and plain musur dal.