why it works
- Yukon Golds are creamier and tastier than the russets most often used for fries.
- Thick, hand-cut fries fit best under a pile of hot dogs.
- Triple frying the potatoes ensures a crispy exterior.
- Using frying oil from potatoes to also cook hot dogs is quick and efficient.
There is a world in which the instructions for homemade salchipapa boil down to little more than this:
- Cook a bag of frozen fries according to package directions.
- Sauté the sliced hot dogs in a pan with a little oil until lightly browned.
- Stack hot dogs on top of fries and serve with sauces of your choice.
And there would be nothing wrong with this recipe, because salchipapa is fast food, it’s street food, it’s bar food, it’s street food. restaurant, and it’s really the kind of snack that, if you fancy it, is probably something you want right now and rather than something you want to spend a few hours doing from scratch. (If you’re going the quick and easy route, I should note that now would be a great time to break out the air fryer for fries and hot dogs.)
But while there’s nothing wrong with making salchipapa at home in the above way, there’s something wrong with posting a recipe like that, especially on a website defined by his desire to go further. So that’s how to make salchipapa the hard way, because that’s why you’re here, right? Like I said, though, if you want to read this and then rip open a bag of frozen fries, do it.
What is Salchipapa?
In case you had the misfortune not to know of the existence of this board of franks-fries, here’s some background. Salchipapa is a portmanteau of salchicha (sausage) and papa (potato). According to the national tourism website of Peru, it first appeared in the 1950s as a street food in Lima, where it became popular among time- and money-pressed workers. The quick, filling and affordable snack (it can, let’s be clear, suffice as a meal) quickly became popular enough to spread from street carts to restaurants, bars, homes and beyond.
Today, it’s a popular dish not only in Peru, but abroad, with regional, national, and personal variations that each put their own spin on the basic concept. In some places other meats are added, such as chicken, various sausages and cuy (guinea pig). In others, seafood sneaks into the mix. Some vendors squirt all the sauces on top, others serve them as dips on the side. I’ve heard of coleslaw on top of hot dogs, as well as balanced fried eggs on top and melted cheese veils. There are Colombian versions and Ecuadorian versions and Bolivian versions and… I mean, I think you got it: get hot dogs, put them on a pile of fries, then get creative. It’s a pretty obvious sequence of events.
In Peru, common salchipapa sauces include salsa de aceitunas, a briny mayonnaise with black olives; ketchup; and sauces made with ají amarillo peppers (one of the easiest is made by simply mixing mayonnaise with ají amarillo pepper paste).
The From Scratch Version: How to Make a Great Salchipapa at Home
Even in its purest form, salchipapa is still a choose-your-own adventure dish. There are questions of potato type, which are much more limited here in the United States than in Peru, where the domesticated potato was born and varieties abound. There are questions about the cut and size of potatoes (skinny fries, large fries, wedges, etc.). And the same goes for hot dogs. Do you cut them crosswise into small logs? Cut them into slices? Make that cute little octopus thing where you make cross cuts in the logs so they form legs when fried?
For my recipe, I opted for creamy Yukon Gold potatoes over starchy russets. Russets are the most common choice for fries, but I’ve noticed in my recipe research that in Peru the yellow varieties are a popular choice for salchipapa, and although we may not have the same yellow potato options as in Peru, Yukon Golds are our closest alternative. They’re tastier than the redheads, and they have a creamier texture that I think works well with hot dogs and dips. You lose a bit of crispiness in exchange, but in some ways that’s less important here – after all, we’re stacking hot dogs on fries in a way that will trap in some steam and soften some of them slightly. them anyway.
That’s not to say crispiness isn’t important, and this recipe goes even further to make that happen. Built on the basis of Kenji’s recipe for thin and crispy fries, the fries here start with a simmer in vinegar water. This cooks them, with the vinegar slowing down the breakdown of the natural pectin in the potatoes and ensuring they don’t turn to mush. After that, instead of just double frying like in Kenji’s recipe, they are fried three times. Double frying is more than enough for Kenji’s thin-cut russets, but the thick-cut Yukon Golds in my recipe benefit considerably from an extra spin in oil.
The reason for my thicker cut here: I want to show off that creamy Yukon Gold interior, and also make sure the fries are in proportion to the angled slices of hot dogs. How the ingredients are cut is almost always important in a recipe, and that’s especially true in something as simple as this two-ingredient platter. The hot dogs are stacked casually on top of the fries, so there must be a way for them to connect to each other. With so little to play with, the qualities that will bond them best are texture (tender, crisp strawberries paired with crispy, creamy fries) and size. Although contrast is always an option, in this case there is something weird to me about chunks of hot dogs on skinny, crispy little fries. By bringing their scale into the same ballpark, they seem more of a piece on the plate.
And that may be the point of this whole recipe. While, yes, you can make salchipapa quickly with frozen fries and a skillet of hot dogs, it’s harder to make those store-bought components seem like they have a lot to do with each other. They will still be very tasty, but quite obviously disconnected. By going the extra mile to make it from scratch, you can dial in the details so that something harmonious happens despite the minimal interaction of the main ingredients.