In religious terms, I was an agnostic. Not only did I not believe in the existence of the perfect tasty non-fried non-fat potato crisp, I even (privately) questioned the veracity of those who waxed lyrical about the properties of that mythical snack.
But before you blame me for my cynicism, stop a moment and think - does it seem possible that the potato could make a tasty crisp without the use of hot oil in which to fry it?
Crisp, chip, wafer - whatever. Take your pick, depending on which part of the world you are from. A chip by any other name is a wafer, or indeed even a crisp. The name doesnt matter. (But the matter does.) Does it matter if you address the One Great Entity In The Sky as Allah, Ram or Jesus? No, as long as you believe in the Entity, the name is merely that - a name. It doesnt change the basic spirit of the matter.
Anyway. Set aside, just for a few moments, the principles of healthy cooking/eating/living which govern our day-to-day lives, and think about this: NOTHING beats the taste of savoury (and some sweet) goodies that have been deep fried - samosa, bajji, papad, pakoda, kachori etc. Yes, we bake some of these in the oven and pretend that they're "just as tasty" but really you know they're not. It's just a compromise on taste made in the interests of fat-free healthy cooking.
That, in short, was my attitude. I was convinced that the phrase "fat-free" automatically meant "taste-free" - or at the very least, diminished taste.
But wait! Dont despair at my attitude, dont turn away from me (and certainly puhleeese dont shun my blog!!!!). Because I have Seen The Light! I believe in that holiest of holies - the grail of foodies - that Mecca of gourmands - the very Nirvana for potato crisp fans.... yes, I BELIEVE in the oil-free potato crisp! The TASTY oil-free, any-kind-of-fat-free potato crisp!
(Yes, chip, wafer, whatever... go back to the start for a re-run).
(Evidently I also believe in dissing all religions equally, but please forgive me this once. It's just too revelationary a moment for me!)
And after all that, in simple words - I believe that you CAN make perfectly tasty potato crisps in the microwave. Granted, they wont last well, not even overnight, to be honest. But when you eat them fresh... ahhh! They wont last even 10 minutes, if you're anything like me and my family.
The downside to these heavenly crisps is that if you have a small microwave oven, it will take absolutely AGES to accumulate enough crisps to serve even two people - especially if you keep eating them as quickly as they come out of the microwave!
But this is only a little obstacle in the Path to the Perfect Potato Crisp. Take it from the newly converted.
Recipe for: Fat-free microwave potato crisps
3-4 small potatoes (I used Jersey Gold), sliced very thin (I used a peeler, actually!)
Pam spray (original will do)
A flat microwave-safe dish
A microwave oven
Salt and other condiments/spices/herbs to taste
1. Spray the dish lightly and evenly with Pam.
2. Lay the thinly sliced potatoes on it in a single layer, making maximum use of the space available.
3. Sprinkle on salt and whatever spices/herbs you like.
4. Microwave for 3 minutes at first, check to see the done-ness of the crisps, then microwave again (a bit of experimentation required here, but usually another 2 minutes will do) till they are crisp and golden.
Once you find out the time required for optimum crispness and done-ness, you can straightaway put in the correct time. Mine took 5 minutes per batch.