What makes a french fry even better? How about when that normal carb loaded potato is now transformed into a curly piece of butternut squash or zucchini?! Drum roll please…. Veggie Curly Fries! Skip the guilt and trick your kids into eating veggies! It’s really a win win situation.
These are SO GOOD.
Like can’t stop eating them even to take pictures good.
I am also a sucker for a good chipotle dipping sauce, so that didn’t help the situation.
But I powered through, and as soon as I was done taking snaps these veggie curly fries did not stand a chance.
You can either purchase the packages of spiralized veggies that are already cut, or do it yourself using a vegetable spiralizer. You can use any vegetable you want as long as it has some sturdiness to it once it is cooked. For example, don’t use a cucumber or cabbage, those types of vegetables will just turn into a soggy mess. Instead use vegetables like butternut squash, zucchini, beets, and even onions (hello, onion rings!!). Another important step is to towel dry the veggies before putting them into the “french fry” coating, you want to make sure that there is not too much excess water, or the batter will be too runny.
To get started first mix up the “french fry” coating and dump all of your spiralized veggies into the coating. Use a pair of tongs to move the veggies around to make sure they are fully coated. These come together surprisingly easy, the longest part is waiting for them to fry.
I used my favorite cast iron pan to do the deep frying. I find cast iron works the best for deep frying, or frying anything in general. For one, the cast iron pan can withstand extreme heat, and two, nothing will stick to it. I am a huge cast iron advocate, if you want some more information on cast iron pans, check out this post!
Please remember that deep frying any food is dangerous if you are not careful.
If you are not careful, deep frying can easily result in a grease fire, especially if you use a gas stove. But I don’t want you to be scared of doing it, or using this cooking method. Just make sure you are well informed and know the risks and how to handle a situation, should it arise.
Here are a few very important rules you need to MAKE SURE YOU FOLLOW.
#1- Have a fire extinguisher close by. This is something you should have in your kitchen anyways. You can pick them up at any home improvement store, and just keep them under your kitchen sink. It is also a good idea to show and inform everyone in your family about where your fire extinguisher is and how to use it.
#2- If plain water is added to hot oil it will cause the oil to spit and rapidly bubble. This will go away quickly, but it is still recommended that you make sure to dry off your ingredients to avoid excess oil spatter.
#3- Do not remove the hot pan from the stove until it is completely cooled. When any oil gets hot, it loses is viscosity and becomes thin, almost like water. Except way hotter than any water you have ever felt. So, when you are done, let the pan just sit on the stove to cool completely. I usually leave it for at least 6 hours or overnight. Hot oil will hold its heat for a long time, and the cast iron is an excellent insulator.
#4- Do not leave the stove the entire time. A grease fire can happen in the blink of an eye. If you have to leave the stove, turn off the heat so there is no chance for an accident to happen.
Bottom line is just be careful. Be mindful of the situation you are in, and if it is your first time just take things slow and make sure you have no distractions.
While we are on the subject of extreme heat, you also will need to use an oil with a high smoke point for deep frying.
What do I mean by high smoke point? Well let me explain. The smoke point is the point at which the oil will begin to break down, burn and smoke. Some oils can withstand extreme heat better than others. This is due to the refining process and the processes the oil undergoes during manufacturing. Generally the more refined the oil the higher the smoke point will be.
Extra virgin olive oil, for example has an extremely low smoke point, coming in at around 325°F. For deep frying you will want to choose an oil with a smoke point of no less than 400°F or higher.
Oils with a high smoke point
- Coconut Oil (refined)
- Canola Oil
- Vegetable Oil
- Avocado Oil
- Grapeseed Oil
- Olive Oil (refined)
Oils with a Low smoke Point
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Coconut Oil (unrefined)
- Flaxseed Oil
Understanding oil smoke points is important for any kind of cooking where you will be heating up the oil or exposing it to extreme temperatures.
To season and grease your cast iron pan it is important to use an oil with a high smoke point, so the oil doesn’t burn the next time you use it. I use vegetable oil for the majority of my deep frying and for seasoning my cast iron pan.
If your oil burns
Burning oil can result in a burnt flavor becoming embedded in the food you are deep frying and it will smoke like crazy. The smoke from burnt oil will be a blueish tinge and it is very noticeable. If this happens, immediately shut off the heat and let the oil cool completely. Do not try to move the pan until the oil is cool. When any oil is heated it loses its viscosity and becomes as thin as water. If you must move the pan, be very very careful!
To get the best results use a deep fry or candy thermometer to measure the temperature of the oil. Bring the oil up to a temperature of 375°F – 400°F.
Whew, if you have made it this far, yay! I hope I didn’t scare you away from deep frying forever! Obviously I am extremely passionate about safety in the kitchen. I have been deep frying foods and desserts for over a decade, so if you have any questions, I would love to answer them!
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Veggie Curly Fries
- 8 cups Spiralized Veggies, butternut squash, zucchini, beets, etc.
- 4-8 cups Vegetable Oil , for frying (amount dependent on the size of pan you are using)
"French Fry" Coating
- 2 cups Water
- 1 cup Flour
- 1 Egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
- 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Chipotle Powder
Chipotle Dipping Sauce
- 1/4 cup Mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon Rice Vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon Chipotle Powder
- Kosher Salt, pinch
- Dry the spiralized vegetables with a paper towel to remove any excess water.
- Line a large plate with 4-5 sheets of paper towel for draining cooked fries on.
"French Fry" Coating
- In a large bowl combine water, flour, beaten egg, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and chipotle powder. Wisk to combine the batter.
- Dump all of your spiralized vegetables into the batter, using a pair of tongs move the vegetables around to fully coat.
Chipotle Dipping Sauce
- In a small bowl combine mayonnaise, rice vinegar, chipotle powder, and salt. Stir to combine, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Frying the Veggie Curly Fries
- In your cast iron pan (see above) pour in your oil. Only fill the pan about half way full. You need to leave plenty of room for the frying/bubbles.
- Place the pan onto the stove and turn the heat on medium. Let your oil heat completely before starting to fry your curly fries.
- To get the best results use a thermometer to measure the temperature of the oil. Bring the oil up to a temperature of 375°F – 400°F
- When the oil is heated up, using tongs, grab around 1-2 cups of the sprialized vegetables. Let the batter slightly drip off the vegetables before transfering them to the oil.
- Place the vegetables into the oil, gently and carefully spread them out so they are in a nice thin layer. Let them fry until they are golden brown, about 5-8 minutes.
- When they are done frying, using tongs remove the curly fries and place on paper towel lined plate and let them drain. Once they have cooled slightly you can break up the fries more to separate them.
- Repeat the above steps for frying until all of the veggie curly fries are cooked.