Belgian Fries (or Frites, as they’re called in Belgium) are unlike any fries you’ve ever tasted. Soft on the inside, impossibly crispy on the outside, and so crunchy you can hear each bite from across the room. There’s a secret to making fries this delicious, and if you keep reading, I’ll tell you what it is.
Ah, fries, a universal love. I think that God gave us a gift when he gave us fries. Matchstick, curly, steak, crinkle cut… there’s not a single kind that I don’t love. But I’m gonna let you in on a little secret…
These fries… these Belgian frites that I’m going to share with you right now…. These fries are life changing, earth shattering, scream-at-the-top-of-your-lungs-“I LOVE THESE FRIES” fries. And I promise I don’t say this lightly.
The Invention of Fries
So, back in the 1600s, Belgians ate a lot of fish, and one of their favorite ways to cook up their fish was to fry them in oil! Sometimes in the winter, though, the ice on the water was too thick and the Belgians couldn’t reach their beloved fish. Instead, they began cutting up potatoes into thin slices and frying them up as they would fish. And thus, the favorite food of drunk Americans was born.
But Wait… I Thought that Fries Were From France?
Ah yes, my reader; so did I. Then I took a walking tour and I learned the truth. Those French lads have been taking credit for a Belgian invention for far too long!! It’s time to set the record straight, and I’m here to help.
If you’ll remember correctly from my Belgian introduction, the country of Belgium has three official languages: German, Dutch, and French.
During World War 1, some of the war was fought in a French-speaking portion of Belgium. The American soldiers were sent to Belgium to fight, and while they were there, they received some wonderful fries from the Belgian soldiers. The Americans, however, heard the Belgians speaking French, and thus, thought that they were French men.
When the Americans returned home, they spread the word of the incredible food that they had tried overseas… Fried potatoes from France. Sorry, Belgians. We messed that one up big time.
What Makes These So Good?
I don’t know about you, but I like my fries CRISPY. The best ones in basket for me are the small ones that got a little crispier in the frier than the rest of their fry buddies. McDonald’s fries just don’t cut it for me, mostly because they just seem soggy…. I ain’t about that lyfe, yanno?
So those wonderful, smart, fantastic Belgians came up with the recipe for the crispiest, crunchiest, tastiest fries out there. Are you ready for the secret?
Yep! So you don’t just fry those bad guys up once. Fry them twice! Two times the frying and 80000000 times the taste.
The first time that you fry the potatoes, keep the oil at about 325 degrees fahrenheit. This initial frying will cook the potatoes all the way through and make sure that the interior is nice and soft. Once you remove the fries from the oil, let them rest for a bit. They’ll need about a half an hour in between so that they can completely cool down and prepare for their next batch of frying.
When you fry them the second time, raise the temperature of the oil to 375 degrees. You’ll keep them in the oil for about 2-4 minutes, depending on how dark you like your fries. This second round of frying simply crisps up the outside of the potatoes and leaves us with a deliciously crunchy treat.
Choosing a Sauce
Okay, so the crispy factor of these fries is off the chain, but Belgian frites are fun for more reasons than one. For starters, the way that they’re served! Forget the days of a simple choice between ketchup or ranch for your fries (oops, sorry… is my midwestern showing?). In Belgium, the dipping-sauce game is OFF THE CHARTS. I swear, you can choose between 10, 15, 20 different kinds of sauces at one fry stand, and the sauce is just as much a part of the experience as the fries themselves.
The possibilities are endless, but some of the more common options are:
- Green goddess sauce
- Pili-pili sauce
- Brasil sauce
- Andalouse sauce.
The Andalouse sauce that I made with these fries is a true Belgian specialty. Based with mayonnaise and flavored with tomato paste, pepper, onions, and some seasonings, it is a perfect way to truly channel your inner Belgian.
Serving your Belgian Fries
If you want to serve up your fry treat like a true Belgian, make a paper cone out of newspaper (or, in my case, construction paper) and put the fries in the cone. Then take a big spoonful of your Andalouse sauce and plop it right on top of those fries. If you really want to act the part, get a teeny tiny little plastic fork and use that to eat those sauce-covered fries. Or just stick your face in the cone and gobble ‘em all up. No judgement here, dudes.
Okay, I think I have effectively shared every piece of Belgian Fries knowledge that is in my brain. If I missed something, if you still have questions, leave a comment! If you try the recipe and love it, tag a photo of your fries on Instagram or Facebook at @TheForeignFork or with the hashtag #TheForeignFork. Thanks for stopping by everyone! Come back next week for an adventure into Belgian Stoemp and Liege waffles!
Fries (Frites) with Andalouse Sauce (Belgium)
- 5 idaho potatoes
- 1 container sunflower oil for deep frying
- Sea salt
- Paper to make serving cones
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp green bell pepper
- 1 tbsp red bell pepper
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp onions finely chopped
For the Fries:
- Peel potatoes and cut into fry shapes (about ½ inch thick and 4 inches long).
Fill a bowl with water and add the raw potatoes. Let sit for a few minutes until the water becomes cloudy, empty the bowl, refill with fresh water, and put the raw potato fries back in. Continue until the water remains clear.
- In a large pot, heat oil to 325 degrees. Add the potatoes (about ¼ at a time) and fry for about 4-5 minutes.
- Remove from the oil and let drain on paper towel. Ensure that oil comes back to 325 degrees before adding your next round of fries.
- Allow the potatoes to cool completely– for at least a half an hour. When the potatoes are completely cooled, reheat the oil to 375 degrees.
- Sprinkle salt on the potatoes. Put them in the oil again, this time frying to your liking (about 3-6 minutes).
- Remove, drain, salt again, and serve immediately with andalouse sauce.
For the Andalouse Sauce:
- Mix all and let sit for one hour or overnight.
Recipe copyright The Foreign Fork. For educational and personal use only.