Can’t get your kids to eat their veggies? Kids and adults will love Matchstick Carrot Fries. Sweet like candy, lightly fried, and absolutely addictive…in a good way!
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I used to watch Food Network all the time, but once the competition shows took over almost all of the programming, I stopped. About 2 years ago I began watching again, on weekend mornings to watch the cooking shows. I have several favorites hosts, and have made a few of the recipes. I do watch The Kitchen, because I like all of the hosts. A couple of weeks ago they did an episode on fun ways to get kids to eat their vegetables and Sunny Andersen did a recipe for carrot fries.
My mom cooked carrots quite a bit when I was a kid, but they were really soft. I’m a big texture eater, so I wasn’t a fan of that at all. I did–and do–still eat raw carrots regularly. And I was that kid…if I didn’t like something I wouldn’t eat it. Heck, I’m the same way to this day! I will eat cooked carrots now, but I still want them to have some texture. When I make my Tuna Pasta Salad I lightly saute the carrots, celery and onion before adding it to the rest of the dish. With my Tuna Tettrazini, the carrots get cooked in the casserole so they are soft, but not complete mush. And with my Baked Zucchini Carrot Tots, the carrots and zucchini still have some bite when baked.
I knew I wanted to make the carrot fries, and I came up with a great pork chop dish to serve with them, but for some reason kept putting it off. Then I bought shredded carrots for another recipe last week, and it propelled me to make Matchstick Carrot Fries.
I’ve found a new favorite way to enjoy carrots! The chefs on The Kitchen said they taste like candy. I was skeptical, until I took a bite. They are so delicious, and really do taste like candy. I found myself eating them almost as soon as they came out of the oil–just like I do with regular french fries. I could seriously eat an entire bag of Matchstick Carrot Fries by myself. The hardest part was forcing myself not to eat them until I took pictures for this blog post.
KEYS TO PERFECT MATCHSTICK CARROT FRIES
- I use bagged shredded carrots. I don’t usually advocate for buying pre-cut veggies because they’re usually more expensive. However, the bagged shredded carrots are cheap, and you get thicker cut carrots than when you shred them at home.
- Canola Oil: I recently discovered Avocado Oil; it has a high smoke point and a wonderful buttery flavor. However, it’s expensive so for deep frying I prefer to use Canola oil.
- I use an Electric Deep Fryer. It does require more oil than a skillet, but you won’t get any splatter because of the depth
- A Deep Fry Thermometer is perfect to gauge and maintain the oil temperature. Mine has a handy clip, so it hangs on the side of the deep fryer
- I use a Spider Strainer to remove food from the oil
The key to deep frying is a steady oil temperature. Too low, and the food absorbs the oil and gets super greasy; too high, and it burns before it cooks. I fry these Matchstick Carrot Fries at 350°. You also don’t want to overcrowd the fryer, or the oil temperature will drop. I fill the strainer with about 2 1/2 ounces of raw carrots, and that is the perfect amount to cook at one time.
SEASONING OPTIONS FOR MATCHSTICK CARROT FRIES
- Apple Cider Vinegar and fresh mint, as Sunny does in her recipe
- Demerera Cane Sugar and Ground Cinnamon for a more earthy flavor
- Simple Coarse Sea Salt
Make sure to add salt to the Matchstick Carrot Fries as soon as they come out of the oil. I have a bunch of rosemary in my garden, and decided to mince some into coarse sea salt. Table salt won’t provide the same bite, so I don’t recommend it.
To see the carrots shrink to half their size was a big shock, because I’ve never seen that with other fried food. I would guess the water in the carrots plays a big part in that. I do pat the raw carrots dry with paper towels, but it’s almost impossible to completely eliminate all the water. Because of that, I made a lot more of the Matchstick Carrot Fries than I originally planned. Which of course means I ate a lot more than I originally planned. But they’re vegetables, so that’s okay right?! Below is a picture that shows 2 ounces of raw carrots vs 2 ounces of Matchstick Carrot Fries. Yes, exactly the same amounts.
I will definitely make these Matchstick Carrot Fries again soon. Its a great way to get picky kids to eat their vegetables. No, they can’t use the fryer themselves, but kids can have fun with creating different seasoning options.
SHOP THIS RECIPE
- 1 10-ounce bag shredded carrots
- Canola oil (for frying)
- fresh rosemary and sea salt, for garnish
- orange zest
Spread carrots onto paper towels, and allow them to dry for about 10 minutes
Add about 3" of oil into deep fryer or deep skillet
Heat oil to 350°. Use a deep fry thermometer to check for correct temperature
Working in batches, carefully add carrots into hot oil. Use spider strainer to drop carrots in.
Carrots will take 2-3 minutes to cook
Remove from oil, and lay on paper towels to drain. Immediately season with rosemary sea salt, and top with orange zest. Enjoy!