First and foremost, I wish to apologize for my way too long silence regarding the English part of the blog : my leisure time, hence my blogging time has dramatically decreased lately, not quite willingly as a matter of course. I hope you’ll forgive me both my lost time and my much rarer visits to your blogs, though I’ll do my best to make up for pending updates and publications !
Luckily, in spite of this belated posting, it’s still time to enjoy summer refreshments, which certainly include some nibbles 😉 Here is a jazzed up version of a humble appetizer to pair with drinks, that is : chips. Once finding myself little inspired to prepare a family aperitif, I caught a packet labelled « wasabi chips » from the supermarket (trusting to fate and to my liking for this typical Japanese condiment), without expecting them to render so well the taste and tingly tang of the root and to meet such a great success ! But processed food’s additives and fat content (not to mention value for money), as well as my appetite for new challenges had me undertaking to make some in my little kitchen.
These homemade wasabi chips don’t have as fancy a colour as the store-bought ones, but they do taste wasabi – already an achievement ! Plus, even though they don’t have a lot more ingredients than potatoes and oil, they’re rather on the light side since I leaned toward baking rather than deep-frying. It thus turned into a slightly tougher job but yielded a much enjoyable result as well as a cleaner preparation…
After all, you mostly need a bit of patience and to choose the finest and most suitable potatoes you can come by ; as for wasabi, the coloured and flavoured tubed horseradish paste which may likely be found in your supermarkets too really does the trick, but it’s up to you to try making it with wasabi in another form if you find it more convenient.
Yields a bowl of chips, meaning 2 to 3 sensible servings as an appetizer.
- 5 firm flesh potatoes, about 100 gr. each (a kind for making fries preferred)
- water with ice cubes for ice bath
- 1 smallest sized tube (43 gr.) mock wasabi paste
- about 2 tsp water
- about 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- salt to serve (optional)
Peel the potatoes.
Slice the potatoes very thinly, using either a mandolin (if you’re lucky enough to have one, which isn’t my case – but I’m in the market for one ;)) or a peeler like me. It works well (albeit not the potato peeler kind) providing that you choose medium-sized potatoes and make it carefully : not too fast, and with a kitchen or paper towel wrapping the base of the potato to keep it from slipping. I admit that finding the right gesture might take some time but I swear that if I managed to make it, you would too ! All I can tell about it is that I’ve found more efficient to move the potato while holding the peeler steady instead of the other way around. It became tricky only toward the middle of each potato, hence I simply used more, saving the remaining half potatoes for another use (namely potato salads or pan-fried potatoes). I guess that less would be leftover by a mandolin though, so you can reduce the amount of potatoes to 3 or 4 in case this is what you use : you should get 250 gr. (more or less half a pound) of slices, all told.
Place them into a colander or shallow dish and rinse them 3 times with running water, then immerse them for 30 mns in an ice bath.
Drain the slices and arrange them between two layers of kitchen towel or two sheets of paper towel to have them thoroughly dried.
Transfer them to a shallow dish and massage the slices gently with oil in order to have them coated evenly yet not overly greasy.
Arrange them on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper without overlap ; you’d most likely need to make at least 2 batches. If so, let the leftover oiled potato slices rest in a cool place while baking the former ones.
Preheat the oven at 140°C / 285°F.
Thin down half of the tubed wasabi by mixing it with enough water (that is about 1 tsp) to turn it into a spreadable paste.
Using a basting brush, smear the top of each slice with this paste. It doesn’t need to be made to perfection but don’t skimp on it (make some more paste if needed).
Bake for 25 mns, then take the baking tray out of the oven (without turning it off).
Thin down the remaining wasabi paste as the first half, flip the potato slices and smear the other side as earlier.
Put the baking tray back into the oven and bake for 20 mns more or until the slices got browned enough on the sides. This step requires close watch, since the chips won’t be all cooked at the same time and may burn any moment. Peel them carefully off the greaseproof paper, one by one and set them aside to cool on a rack.
They would turn crispier as they reach room temperature, yet it is better to eat them within an hour (or you can try to reheat them quickly in the preheated oven to give them their crispness back).
Enjoy as a side for a drink of your choice, such as a Japanese beer for example… 😀