“Don’t call them fries,” says KFC about its popular side made with sliced, skin-on russet potatoes. What sets these potatoes apart from all the others is the secret breading made with a similar seasoning blend to the one used for Colonel's Original Recipe Fried Chicken. To achieve the proper crispiness, the potatoes are par-fried, frozen, then fried again until golden brown.
One important ingredient that completes the flavor is MSG. Monosodium glutamate is a food additive derived from glutamic acid, which is an important amino acid found in abundance in nature, food, and in you right now. Over the last 60 years of study and use, MSG has not only been found harmless in normal amounts, but tests have shown glutamate to be a chemical messenger that benefits gut health, immunity, and brain functions such as memory and learning. In addition to all of that, it imparts a unique savoriness that enhances flavors in other ingredients and makes your food taste amazing. Using MSG in your food is, literally, smart cooking.
Another important ingredient is ground Tellicherry black pepper, a select black pepper from India. Winston Shelton, a friend of Harland Sanders who invented the first high-volume pressure fryers for KFC, confirmed this. Shelton recalled seeing the ingredient when Sanders showed him the secret formula for the fried chicken seasoning he had scribbled on a piece of paper.
While we were shooting the first episode of my TV Show, Top Secret Recipe, Winston pulled me aside and whispered to me that Tellicherry pepper is crucial to creating the unique KFC aftertaste. It was a great tip, and fortunately, we caught that moment on camera and you can see it in the show. Later, I conducted a side-by-side taste test with common black pepper and Tellicherry black pepper and discovered Winston was right. If you want the best taste for your clone you'll need Tellicherry pepper, which you can find online and in some food stores. Be sure to grind it fine before using it.
For this recipe, just two russet potatoes are all it takes to make the equivalent of a large serving of fried potato wedges, which will be enough for at least four people.
This recipe is available in
- 2 small or medium russet potatoes
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 5 ounces (1 cup) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon MSG (monosodium glutamate)
- 3/4 teaspoon ground Tellicherry black pepper (fine grind)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Do This
Instructions1. Slice each potato in half lengthwise. Slice those halves in half lengthwise, slice those slices in half, then slice them once again, making 16 thin potato slices from each potato. If your potatoes are on the large side, you’ll be able to cut more than 16 slices. Ideally, you want the potato slices no thicker than ¼ inch. After you slice them, soak the potatoes in a large bowl of water for 30 minutes to remove excess starch.
2. While your potato slices soak, prepare the breading by combining the milk and eggs in a medium bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, MSG, Telicherry pepper, coriander, sage, garlic powder, and white pepper.
3. Fill a deep fryer or Dutch oven with 3 inches of oil and preheat the oil to 325 degrees F.
4. Before breading the potato wedges, dry them off by blotting them on a towel. Working with one potato wedge at a time, dip it in the milk/egg mixture, then dredge it in the seasoned flour. A single light coating of flour is all you’ll need. Arrange all of the breaded wedges on a large plate or baking sheet and let them sit on their sides until only a few dry spots of flour are visible. The breading will appear to have become more of a batter at that point, and that’s what you want.
5. Fry the potato wedges several at a time in the oil for 2 minutes, or until some very light brown spots are visible. This is just a par-fry, so the potatoes will not be fully cooked. After they have cooled, arrange them on wax paper in a covered container and freeze for at least 2 hours (if you’re anxious to eat), or even longer so that they are completely frozen. Reserve the oil for the second frying.
6. When you’re ready to finish the potato wedges, heat the oil to 350 degrees F.
7. Fry the wedges several at a time for 3 to 4 minutes, or until brown and crispy, and serve them immediately. You may want to hold the finished wedges in a 325-degrees-F oven while the rest cook. This will keep them crispy and hot until the whole batch is done.
Serves 4 (1 large order).
I'm Todd Wilbur,
Chronic Food Hacker
For 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original clone recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.