Snacks for easy entertaining

Wow any guests with these easy and delicious pre-dinner snacks, brought to you by our food writer Libby Kimber. It’s also Coeliac Awareness Week (13-20 March), so we made sure these snacks can be served up to your gluten-free friends, too.

easy snacks smoke shop backyard bbq book cover
Image and text from The Smoke Shop’s Backyard BBQ by Andy Husbands and William Salazar, photography by Ken Goodman. Fair Winds Press, RRP $39.99.

Homemade potato chips

Serves: 10-12

1.8kg russet potatoes
¼ cup (60ml) white vinegar
About 12 cups (2.8L) vegetable oil
1 batch ranch dust (optional)

Slice the potatoes as thinly as possible. (For best results, use a mandoline to slice the potatoes into 2mm pieces.)

Rinse the sliced potatoes in batches until the starch is removed and the water runs clear. Place all the potatoes in a large bowl and cover with water. Add the vinegar and set aside until you are ready to fry, up to 1 hour.

Attach a deep-fry thermometer to the side of a deep heavy-bottomed pan. Pour the oil in to a depth of 7.5cm and place the pan over medium-high heat. (You want to try to maintain this temperature.)

Drain the potatoes and pat very dry. When the oil reaches 170°C to 180°C, fry the potatoes in batches. Use a slotted spoon to gently move the potato chips around. Flip the chips after 2 to 3 minutes. The chips are done when they are evenly deep golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes on each side.

Transfer the chips to a paper towel–lined sheet pan to drain and toss with the ranch dust, if using, then serve the snacks. Otherwise, store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

easy snacks homemade potato chips
Photo: Ken Goodman.

Ranch dust

¾ cup (90g) dry buttermilk powder
3 Tbsp (4g) dried parsley
1 Tbsp dried chives
1 Tbsp, plus 2 tsp (5g) dried dill
1 Tbsp (9g) garlic powder
1 Tbsp (7g) onion power
1 Tbsp (10g) garlic flakes
1 Tbsp (5g) onion flakes
2 tsp kosher salt
1½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 tsp chili powder

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse for 30 seconds. Store in a cool, dark place in an airtight container for up to several months.

More recipes:

easy snacks fast low carb book cover
The Fast Low-Carb Kickstart Plan by Luke Hines, Published by Plum, RRP $26.99, Photography by Mark Roper.

Spicy broccoli pakora

Serves: 4

1 head of broccoli, cut into very small florets
125ml (½ cup) coconut oil
Sea salt

Spicy batter

3 Tbsp coconut flour, plus extra if necessary
2 Tbsp arrowroot or tapioca flour
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
Generous pinch of sea salt
250ml (1 cup) filtered water

easy snacks Spicy broccoli pakora
Photo: Mark Roper.

To make the batter, place the flours, spices and salt in a large bowl and mix well. Pour over the water, whisking all the while to avoid lumps, to form a smooth, thick batter. (If the batter is looking too thin, add a little extra coconut flour.)

Add the broccoli florets to the batter and coat well using your hands.

Melt the coconut oil in a deep frying pan over medium–high heat until nice and hot. To see if the oil is hot enough, add a small battered floret as a test – if it sizzles straight away, you’re good to go!

Fry the battered florets in small batches for 4–5 minutes, until nicely browned, lowering them into the hot oil one at a time, spacing them out and being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Remove the cooked pakora with a slotted spoon and set aside on paper towel to drain, then repeat with the remaining florets. (Don’t freak out if some of the batter sticks to the pan or comes off – this is normal.)

Serve the snacks warm with a generous pinch or two of salt.

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