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Sweet potato fries are one of my favorite sides. I also love the taste of pumpkin, and thought it would be good to replace the sweet potato in sweet potato fries with pumpkin. I am looking to make something very similar to sweet potato fries, but I am curious on a few things.

I would love for them to be crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Should I fry them or bake them? Other than salt and pepper, what spices would bring out the flavor of the pumpkin or pair well with it; would spices be necessary to make them tasty?

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Posts from the French Culinary Institute's blog may help you as you think about how to make fries. It's about regular fries, but delves into the science aspect: cookingissues.com/2010/05/12/… –  justkt Aug 12 '10 at 18:12
    
This just got bumped. How did this turn out? I have several kilos of kabocha (japanese pumpkin) and planned to roast but fries would be nice. –  J. Winchester Feb 9 '11 at 19:26
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We made 2 batches, one thick sliced and one thin sliced. The thin sliced ones got nice and crispy and tasted great with tons of salt. The thick ones I didn't like as much. –  NickLarsen Feb 9 '11 at 23:12
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5 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

For maximum crispiness, you will want to fry, not bake. I've never tried this with pumpkin but I think it will be an interesting experiment. As far as spices go, I would highly recommend smoked paprika (pimenton de la vera or pimenton dulce). Another option would be some of the flavors from Thai curries, such ground coriander seed, black pepper, and red chili powder. Please let us know how these turn out!

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You could also go another route and make them sweet with cinnamon and sugar (and nutmeg and/or ginger if you like them).

Edited to add: cumin is also good with sweet potato fries, so it'd probably be good with pumpkin fries.

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You might even want to double fry them - that is, fry them quickly for a minute or two, take them out and then right before you're going to serve them, fry them to get them very crispy.

Also, you might want to consider sugaring them after they come out of the fryer/oil. It would pair nicely with the paprika/thai/pepper Micheal recommends and with a salty flavor as well.

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I doubt that baking will give you what you want. Pumpkin is really a squash, and when I bake slices of butternut squash with spices I get something quite nice, but I wouldn't say its close to a french fry.

I don't think I've ever heard of anyone deep frying slices of squash.

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Sure, you can deep fry pumpkin or squash. I've had it as tempura many times. –  Michael at Herbivoracious Aug 12 '10 at 19:46
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Blanch first, pat dry with paper towel, and then fry. Use combination oil, should be mostly vegetable oil with some peanut oil to balance the saturation.

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