Masala Fries are the ultimate street food snack. Crispy, golden fries with a tender interior seasoned to perfection with a tangy, spicy homemade seasoning mainly consisting of chaat masala and red chili powder. These chips are incredibly addictive, more hygienic and prepared from the comfort of your home!
Table of Content
What Are Masala Fries
Masala means a spice mix. It is usually a spicy seasoning mixture. Masala Fries are deep-fried french fries flavoured with a spicy and tangy seasoning and are normally sold on the food carts along the streets of Pakistan and India.
These crinkle-cut chips remind me of my visits to Jinnah Super Market in Islamabad. The heady aroma of these french fries used to make me salivate.
The first bite of those crunchy, piping hot fries combined with that chatpatta (spicy and tangy) seasoning was pure joy. No fries ever can beat that homely feeling for me. They always hit the spot.
These Pakistani and Indian style Masala French Fries are an inspiration from those thelay walay (food cart) spicy chips. In my recipe, they are doubled fried for absolute crunch and seasoned with salt, chaat masala, red chili and dried mango powder.
And do you know you can also freeze them just like the store-bought frozen fries?!
Dip these delicious homemade masala chips in some ketchup or mayo! Or pair them with a juicy Ultimate Cheeseburger or Spicy Fish Nuggets. They’d also go really well with some Masala Chai for your midday snack.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Potato - Use starchy potatoes because they have the least amount of moisture. Some examples are russet, idaho and yukon gold.
- Cornflour (cornstarch)
- Red Chili Powder - can be subbed with smoked paprika if you cannot tolerate that much heat but the street style Masala Fries use red chili powder.
- Chaat Masala - Chaat Masala is a South Asian spice blend that adds a tangy and spicy flavour.
- Dried Mango Powder - also called amchoor powder, it gives a hint of sourness and is a good replacement for lemon juice which can make fries soggy. But if you don’t have it you can skip it because chaat masala has enough tanginess or just use lemon.
- Cooking Oil - Use any neutral cooking oil with a high smoke point like rapeseed, canola, peanut, vegetable, grapeseed, safflower etc.
How To Make Masala Fries
Step #1 - Prep and soak the potatoes
Wash, peel and cut the potatoes uniformly to around 1 ¼ cm (½") thickness. You can use a crinkle cutter but it is not essential. Add ice to a bowl of cold water and soak the potatoes in it for at least an hour. This removes excess starch and helps in crisping later.
Step #2 - Coat with cornflour
Drain the water and pat dry with a kitchen towel. They should not be wet at all. Toss the potatoes with the cornflour and salt. Shake off any excess in a sieve or the cornflour particles will just burn in oil.
Step #3 - First fry
Heat cooking oil in a pot till it reaches 160°C (320°F). At this point the oil is not very hot. You can check with a wooden spoon or chopstick only slight bubbles appear around it. Add the potatoes in batches or they will stick together because of cornflour. Fry on medium heat for only 5 minutes.
Step #4 - Cool down
Drain the fries on a wire rack. Spread them around so they don’t overlap. Let them cool completely on the counter. Or to make it fast, pop them in the freezer or fridge.
Step #5 - Second fry
Heat the oil to 205°C (400°F). This time if you put a chopstick in, the bubbles will be bigger. Be careful, the oil is very hot now. Carefully put in the fries without overcrowding. After 2 minutes stir around. Let them cook for 5-6 minutes on high heat till they are golden brown to your liking.
Step #6 - Season with masala
Drain them on a wire rack or sieve. Immediately season with the masala blend. The seasoning won’t stick to it if you let them cool even slightly. Serve these Masala Fries with your favourite dip.
- Use starchy potatoes that have less moisture content like russet or yukon gold.
- Cut the fries uniformly. If they are not of the same size they won’t cook equally.
- Soak in ice cold water which will harden them making them crispier. You can even hear a snap if you break them at this point.
- Double frying is vital for the crunchiness. The first fry cooks them from within and the second fry crisps them up.
- In the first fry don’t touch the fries too much. They are very fragile then and will break.
- Don't fill your pot with oil to the top. When you add the fries the oil will bubble up and rise and can overflow.
- Season immediately when you get the fries out from the hot oil. The seasoning sticks better.
Air Frying & Baking Instructions
Remember air frying or baking won't yield the same level of crispiness as deep-fried fries but they are definitely healthier. Soak the potatoes in cold water as instructed in this masala fries recipe.
For Air Frying: Pre-heat your air fryer at 190°C (375°F). Place your fries in a single layer and spritz with oil. Air fry for 12-15 minutes until cooked and golden. Toss after 5-6 minutes.
For Baking: Pre-heat the oven at 220°C (425°C). Line your baking tray with a wax paper and place the fries in a single layer. Bake for 20-25 minutes until cooked through. Make sure you change their sides midway so they can brown evenly.
- Customize seasoning by adding some common Asian pantry spices like garam masala, dried mint, ground cumin, ground coriander or turmeric powder.
- Pair with a masala sauce by stir-frying the cooked fries in some tomato puree, ginger, garlic, sliced bell pepper and onion.
- Try these french fries with my homemade Greek seasoning blend instead.
- Make it cheesy by melting some sharp Cheddar or grating Parmesan cheese on top.
- Looking for a shortcut? Add this same masala seasoning to your store-bought frozen fries.
What To Serve With Masala Fries
Enjoy masala fries hot with some ketchup, mayonnaise or garlic aioli (my fave). Or pair them with Masala Chai for your midday tea.
Absolutely! After your first fry you can cool down the fries in a single layer. Then put them in a zip-lock bag and freeze for upto 2 months. Whenever you are craving some french fries, deep fry them once or you can even air fry.
You can keep the leftover fries in an airtight box in the fridge for 1 day. More than that they get hard and stale, in my opinion. Reheat by air frying for 3-5 minutes at 180°C (350°F).
Yes, the chaat masala and red chili powder does make them quite spicy. You can tone down on the red chili powder or use smoked paprika instead.
Use starchy potatoes like russet or idaho. They have the least amount of moisture in them and are high in starch.
More Addictive Snacks
Did you try this and love it? Please rate the recipe or leave a review in the comments section. I'd love to hear from you!
Crispy Masala Fries
- 3 large (600g) white starchy potatoes e.g russet
- 2 tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch)
- Neutral Oil for deep frying
- fresh coriander for garnish
- Wash and peel the potatoes. Cut into 1 ¼ cm (½") fries. You can use a crinkle cutter or regular knife. Keep all the fries uniform in size for even cooking and browning.
- Add ice to a bowl of cold water. Soak the potatoes for an hour ideally or 30 minutes minimum.
- Transfer fries to a sieve and drain the water. Rinse once and then pat dry completely on a kitchen towel.
- Put the potatoes in a medium sized bowl and toss with cornflour and ½ teaspoon salt. Shake off any excess cornflour.
- Fill a pot with oil but leave enough room on the top for the oil to rise when you add potatoes or it will overflow. Heat the oil to 160°C (320°F). If you don't have a thermometer test with a chopstick. The oil will bubble slightly but won't be very hot.
- On medium heat, drop the fries carefully in the pot. Don't overcrowd the pan. Fry in two batches. Let fries sit for 2 minutes and then stir gently so they don't stick together. Cook for total 5 minutes only.
- Spread the fries on a wire rack. Let them cool down completely. It might take an hour or so. You can also pop them in the fridge or freezer to quicken the cooling process.
- Heat the oil to 205°C (400°F) now. Check with a chopstick, there will be more bubbles this time.
- The oil is very hot so carefully drop the fries into the pot. Fry in two batches and avoid overcrowding as that will bring the temperature down. Stir 2-3 times to attain an even golden colour. Fry for 5 minutes on high heat until they are golden brown. Keep an eye and don't burn.
- Transfer to a sieve and immediately add the seasonings: a dash of extra salt, red chili powder, chaat masala and dried mango powder. Toss to season well.
- Enjoy hot with ketchup or mayonnaise.
- Use starchy potatoes that have less moisture content like russet, idaho or yukon gold.
- Season immediately when you get the fries out from the hot oil. The seasoning sticks better when the fries are piping hot.
- You can also freeze these fries. After your first fry cool down the fries in a single layer. Then put them in a zip-lock bag and freeze for up to 2 months.
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