Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Fat-free microwave potato crisps

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.


Roopa (KitchenAromas) said...

You never fail to crack me up! Very well written. I am a recent convert too, not with potatoes but with sweet potatoes. Yes, matter does (matter) :)
- Roopa

bee said...

shammi, great post. here's a tip. poke the slices with a skewer through the middle. thread them on the skewer. then suspend the skewer over two ends of a microwave safe tupperware or other container. thus suspended, the crisps turn out more evenly, and you don't even need that Pam spray.

Richa said...

there's something to be said about perfect timing!
here i'm munching on my fav veg root wafers and at the same time ur post appears, all with beautiful description & an easy recipe :) leading me to believe you wrote this with me in mind :) heh!heh!


Aarti Jairam said...

Hi Shammi:

Graet recipe.

BTW - I was reading an earlier post on rava dosa. I have very mixed success with making it, so I will ask for some advice:
1) Is idli rawa the same as the rawa needed for this?
2) Is ground rice the same as rice flour (ground rice is all I get at my london indian store)
3) Making with the above ingredients and flour, sometimes the rawa and rice flour simply do not bind but stay compleletly separate, so when I nam trying to make the dosa with a deep "karandi", the rice flour falls on to the tawa first and the the rawa sticks to the bottom of the karandi and refuses to come off easily, but only as an unattractive clunky bit in the end with some force. This results in the rice flour forming a gloopy layer and the rawa forming a thick lawyer - not at all the thing!

Advice please!!!! Thanks a ton

Mrs. K said...

Thats a beautiful post. :)
Any microwave will do? Or does it have to be the one with convection?

Suganya said...

Even I am hesitant to try microwave potato chips... But looking at yr photo.. hmmm.. Why not?

ushaprashanth said...

A must try one!

Anonymous said...

Roopa: I have some sweet potatoes that have been lying around for a few weeks. Microwave sweet potato chips, here I come! :)

Bee: That's brilliant! If I get a few skewers (thin bamboo, naturally!) I'll be able to make more crisps in one go. Thanks!

Richa: I'm a mind reader and I didnt even know it? Talk about hidden talent! :D

Aarti: To answer your questions in order:
1. No, idli rawa isnt the right rawa. You need to use sooji (or semolina).

2. Ground rice = Idli rawa
Rice flour = well, rice flour! :)
They're definitely different!

3. Your rawa dosa will probably work better with the right ingredients :) But make sure you stir the batter well and often, before taking some to spread on the tawa. The sooji tends to sink as it absorbs the water.

RP: Mine is a very old microwave oven that hasnt even heard of convection :) So I dont know how it would work in a convection microwave. Would cook quicker and more evenly, I suppose.

Suganya: Why not indeed! Go on, try some.

Usha: It sure is! :)

Anonymous said...

Tried your recipe yesterday and it was so good! I never would have belived that microwaved potato wafers could be so crispy! Thanks for sharing this easy recipe. Your scraper tip for churning out thin slices was priceless! Thanks, Shyamala!

Anonymous said...

You got comment-spammed! :( ugh. Blight be upon he/she who did it..

I couldn't comment on your previous posts cos of the spamming I think. Anyway, your shepherd's pie looks gorgeous, especially that last pic where the mash is all browned and the sauce is dripping down the sides of the pan... dROOL!

And I made a delicious eggless wholemeal fruit cake last week.. thought about you when I was typing out the post on it. It's very yummy and rich... maybe you want to keep the recipe for your mom's next visit? *grin*

Luv2cook said...

Cool cool know how sometimes you disover something new food wise and that is all you eat for ever then you forget ALL ABOUT IT? This is what I used to make all the time about 2-3 years ago and I somehow completely forgot that the chips can be made this way. Thank you for bringing back memories and giving me something to try all over again hehe :)...

Sujatha said...

Love the idea. I made two batches, one with chilli powder and salt and the other with garlic salt and Italian herbs. The kids like the Italian flavored one better.