I often replace potatoes in recipes with yams, sweet potatoes and plantains. Not just for their better nutritional content, but also to get some variety in the food that we eat at home. Needless to say, I obviously wouldn’t replace them if they didn’t taste good. They do of course taste good. Dare I say, sometimes even better.
Switching them up in a recipe that’s as popular and perfected as honey-chilli potatoes though, that would be..sacrilege? The small matter of heresy aside, substituting with another starchy vegetable made no sense. The bland, neutral flavour of potatoes is a good thing here; they hero the sauce without interfering with it. Spuds also crisp up better than their carb-y counterparts upon roasting.
Honey-chilli potatoes are typically fried before being tossed in a sticky sauce. Most recipes call for double-frying: first to cook the insides, and then coated in flour and fried again for that crispy exterior. Now I’m not going to sell you on this oven-roasted variant saying they get just as crispy as if you were to double-fry them. Of course they wouldn’t. They do get crispy enough though. And for half the effort and quarter the amount of oil, it doesn’t feel like a downgrade at all.
Here’s the thing also – we don’t eat them as an appetizer the way they’re typically served. Despite being crispy, oven-roasting justifies eating them for breakfast. What? They’re just potatoes coated with sauce. And not deep-fried. Call them fries if you want, but I’m already plotting another batch for our weekend breakfast thankyouverymuch. (These are great with eggs on the side; perfect with Turkish eggs.)
OVEN-ROASTED HONEY-CHILLI POTATOES
- 1 kg potatoes
- 2 teaspoons chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder (or 3 garlic cloves)
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- Salt, to taste
- 5 spring onions, chopped
- 10 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 5 tablespoons ketchup
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons vinegar
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons chilli flakes
- 1 teaspoon corn flour
- 1 tablespoon oil
- Preheat the oven to 200 C.
- Scrub and dry the potatoes. Chop them lengthwise like you would for fries. I leave the skins on but peel them if you prefer.
- Toss the potatoes with chilli powder, garlic powder (or 3 cloves of minced garlic), and oil. (Don’t add salt at this stage. The sauce has enough salt; add more at the end if necessary.)
- Lay them out on a large baking sheet without too many overlaps. Do this in two trays if necessary. Roast in the top rack of the oven for 40-50 mins, or until the potatoes are browned and crispy on the outside.
- Slake the corn flour with 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl. Add ketchup, honey, vinegar, soy sauce and chilli flakes. This is your sauce.
- Add sesame seeds to a large pan and toss until fragrant and lightly coloured. Remove and set aside.
- In the same pan, sauté the garlic in 1 tablespoon of oil until it starts to brown. Keep an eye out and make sure the smaller bits don’t burn. Add spring onions (the bottom bits; save the tops for later) and cook until they wilt down, about 2 mins.
- Add the sauce to the pan and cook for 2 mins or until it starts to reduce and thicken slightly. Toss the potatoes in the sauce to coat them evenly.
- Taste and add salt and/or seasonings if necessary. Sprinkle over sesame seeds and spring onion tops and serve hot. Serve them as is or as a side with fried eggs for breakfast. We especially like these with Turkish eggs (recipe in notes).