A great way to get your dinner going!
by Ari Weinzweig
The sweet potato fries at the Roadhouse, are, of course, one of the single most popular foods we make. I think we cut about 1,500 pounds of sweet potatoes every single week! If you didn’t know, they come, originally, from the Gullah tradition on the Sea Islands, off the coast of Georgia and South Carolina. They’ve been a staple at the restaurant for ages!
Last week, in our regular research into making spiced fries (we’ve had great success with Tellicherry black pepper fries, Cajun fries, cumin fries, and more), we had the thought to try our hugely popular sweet potato fries spiced up with the really great Garam Masala spice blend from our friends at Épices de Cru. Wow. That, it turns out, was a seriously good idea!
The blend is one of the de Vienne family’s long time specialties. And for good reason! It’s terrific. While, as they point out that “there are probably as many versions of this famous Indian blend as there are families in India,” their classic combination contains Indian cumin, black pepper, green cardamom, clove, mace and cassia. It’s killer! It’s also designed to keep you warm. As the de Viennes explain, “Garam Masala is a blend of aromatic spices originally designed to activate heat in our body, a principle that has long been applied in Ayurvedic medicine. Indeed, in Hindi garam means “hot,” whereas masala means “mixture.” It would have been created in northern India, in areas where winter is hitting fiercely and where the need to warm is undeniable.” All of which makes these curried sweet potato fries ideal for impending winter weather!
We grind the blend in the Roadhouse kitchen, so the essential oils and aromatics remain intact! As is true with the on-site milling of the rye at the Bakehouse, fresh grinding does make a difference. Really, all you have to do is smell these curried beauties to know you’re onto something special! The aromas are amazing. Literally, you can savor the scent as soon as they get to your table. Even just running an order of them to the table can give me a spice high! The creamy sweetness of the orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, the golden brown of the outside (from the double blanching) goes great with the spicy mayonnaise. Order them on the side with your burger or sandwich, share an order—or two—with your table mates. They’re so good, I’m thinking you could almost justify having them for dessert. Or, maybe just come by on the way home, have a beer and a basket of ‘em and then head on your way!