Everyone loves french fries, and we Lebanese are no exception! You'll find Batata Maqlieh, which translates to "fried potatoes," on any traditional Lebanese table. We put them in pita sandwiches, serve them with meat, and, of course, eat them plain.
Technique tip: To make the toum (garlic sauce), I always use a mortar and pestle. However, you can also use a food processor to puree the ingredients.
Garlic sauce (makes 1 cup)
- 8 to 10 cloves garlic (about 1 head)
- 1/2 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2½ to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
- 4 cups vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Garlic sauce (recipe above)
- 1 small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely minced
For the garlic sauce:
Peel the garlic cloves and cut off any tiny green shoots that you may see. If using a mortar and pestle, place all of the cloves into the mortar with the salt and firmly pound the cloves down to flatten, then smash them into a smooth paste by vigorously moving the pestle in a circular motion. The consistency should be very creamy. If using a food processor, make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that all of the garlic is fully processed and smooth.
Slowly pour 1/2 cup of the olive oil into the garlic paste, mixing the two together so that the oil entirely emulsifies into the garlic, and the mixture thickens substantially. Once the first half of the olive oil is incorporated, slowly pour in half of the lemon juice, mixing vigorously so that the lemon juice blends in completely and the mixture does not separate. Repeat with the remaining half of the olive oil and the remaining lemon juice. Set aside.
For the fries:
1. Thoroughly wash the peeled potatoes under cold running water and pat dry. Cut the potatoes lengthwise down the center and then cut them into 1/2-inch thick strips.
2. Place the potato strips into a large mixing bowl and cover with cold water, so that they release some of their starch and do not brown. Drain the strips and spread out onto paper towels to thoroughly dry.
3. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and set aside. Pour the vegetable oil into a large, heavy bottomed pot so that it comes only 3 to 4 inches up the sides of the pot. Heat on medium-high until the temperature registers 325°F.
4. Using a handheld strainer or slotted spoon, carefully submerge about a quarter of the potatoes into the hot oil. Allow them to fry, undisturbed, for 2 to 4 minutes on each side, gently turning them halfway through the cooking time, until they are light golden brown. Immediately remove the first batch, straining the excess oil over the pot, and transfer the fries directly to the paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain. Repeat with the remaining potato strips (fry them in small batches and maintain a steady oil temperature of 325°F).
5. While the fries are draining and cooling, bring the oil temperature up to 375°F. Working in small batches, submerge the fries into the hot oil for a second time and fry until they are deeper golden in color and crispy.
6. Drain the fries on paper towels and sprinkle with sea salt.
Spoon the toum sauce over the fries, sprinkle with parsley and serve hot.