Author Notes: I remember my first visit to Asia in 1990. As an American-born Chinese, my local hosts were eager (and proud) to show off big-city sights, sounds--and eats--of Beijing. Even though I was looking forward to authentic street food, perhaps a steamed buns or a big bowl of beef soup with handmade Chinese noodles? Instead I was escorted to...Kentucky Fried Chicken!? "It's the newest and busiest place in town--VERY expensive. One meal costs the equivalent of a month's pay!" my host explained, as I gasped in disbelief. Not wanting to offend, I accepted the royal visitor treatment. Even in America, I didn't eat at KFC. Luckily, I discovered that KFC Beijing offered a twist on the classic American menu with a nod to local palates--sweet potato fries with a dusting of ginger! This is my version with Korean Yams which are less moist and hold up better than traditional sweet potatoes under prime "chip" conditions!
Spiced Korean Yam Fries
- 3 Korean yams (dark red skin, white flesh)
- 1 tablespoon corn starch or sweet potato starch
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, fine
- 2 cups vegetable or peanut oil for frying
Wasabi Garlic Aioli (dipping sauce)
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon wasabi powder or paste
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 dash sea salt
- Peel and cut yams into strips.
- Mix water and corn starch into a paste
- Coat and toss yam strips in paste and seasonings.
- Deep fry in small batches (1 cup at a time) in hot vegetable oil until golden brown.
- Sprinkle with sea salt and serve hot with Wasabi Garlic Aoili on the side.