These spicy garlic and sesame fries are tossed in an array of aromatics and nutty toasted sesame, then drizzled with a 5 spice mayonnaise.
Good fries are they key to a good life, and these fit the bill perfectly.
Fries can be dunked in ketchup or mayonnaise, or even served up as cheesy fries. That takes me back to university days when we all shared boxes of cheesy fries after a night out.
I’m partial to some chilli fries (an Indo-Chinese take on fries) or some masala fries – both are equally delicious. Some veggie dirty fries never go amiss either, with extra jalapenos and sauces on mine.
But I have to say, these spicy garlic and sesame fries take fries to an entirely new level. The combination of flavours here plus the seasoned mayonnaise is award worthy (if I may say so myself).
Spicy garlic and sesame fries
There’s a little inspiration behind these fries. It’s loosely inspired by on of my favourite Indo-Chinese spots based in a large pan-Asian food hall not too far from where I live in London.
The food hall is called ‘Bang Bang Oriental Food hall’ and there’s one particular stall called ‘Veggie Wok’ that does some of the best Indo-Chinese fries around. Needless to say I’ve visited many times and have gotten my friends equally addicted.
However, these spicy garlic and sesame fries have just taken over the top spot when it comes to my favourite fries. Only just by a margin, but they’ve secured the #1 spot for sure.
What’s so special?
These fries are tossed in a fiery, garlicy sauce with an abundance of toasted sesame. That sesame takes this over the edge, it’s insanely nutty and just hugs onto each individual fry.
But everything just balances out when you add the cooling 5 spice mayonnaise to these. Honestly I’m not kidding when I say I could easily have these every singe day. The combination of flavours here is honestly divine and this recipe is really quick and easy to make.
These spicy fries are a total crowd pleaser and it’s very safe to say that I’m obsessed.
This is the epitome of party food or movie night food. It’s my go-to quick recipe in a pinch when I know I need to bring out a snack or an appetiser. It’s a recipe you can’t go wrong with.
In all honesty I don’t think I’ve ever met a single person who doesn’t enjoy fries.
Which fries should I use?
I’ve used some classic frozen French fries which I’ve cooked up in my air fryer. Any frozen brand of fries that you like will work great!
Try and aim for one that isn’t pre-seasoned so that you get the full flavour of the sauce. Follow the cooking instructions on your packaging, most will require either baking or air frying. Usually frozen fries have already had a flash fry prior to being frozen so personally I don’t think it needs another deep fry.
What’s in the spicy garlic and sesame fries sauce?
A whole lot of flavour, that’s what.
No but really it’s:
- Gochujang – a Korean spicy red chilli paste (sriracha is the next best option)
- Light soy sauce
- Rice vinegar
- White pepper
- Toasted black and white sesame seeds – a lot of them!
What’s gochujang and where can I buy it?
Gochujang is a Korean red pepper paste that’s spicy, salty and has a mild sweetness. It’s made from Korean red chilli powder, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans and salt.
Gochujang is quite a thick and sticky paste and has an amazing vibrant red colour. It’s normally sold in tubs in East Asian supermarkets but you may find it in the world food’s aisle in some regular supermarkets.
I buy the Chung Jong One Sunchang gold gochujang which is my personal favourite and I get mine from my local East Asian shop in North London.
It is also available on Amazon which I’ll link below.
This post contains an Amazon Affiliate link. This is the product that I use in this recipe. It is not a gifted or sponsored product. By using this affiliate link, I receive a small commission which is at no expense to yourself. This helps to support this blog for its day to day running. Many thanks.
With gochujang one thing to keep in mind is that it’s spicy. Hence a little can go a long way – if you add too much it will be very overpowering and potentially too hot. You also want to take into account the saltiness so be cautious when adding any soy sauce, miso, or salt.
It’s a brilliant ingredient to add to sauces, marinades and broths as it adds a ton of flavour and a great shine – plus if you like spicy food then this will become a pantry essential for you. You could even mix some gochujang into some mayonnaise to make a spicy Korean mayo!
What is 5 spice?
5 spice is a Chinese spice mix that’s available in some large supermarkets and in most East Asian specialty supermarkets.
It’s a mix of ground spices consisting of star anise, fennel, cloves, cinnamon and pepper (traditionally Szechuan). The star anise is the prominent flavour but it’s a very warming spice mix that pairs really well with the mayonnaise here. Hence I’d definitely recommend using it if you can find it!
How to make these spicy garlic and sesame fries
Let’s go through it step by step.
1) Toast the sesame seeds on a low heat. You’ll know when this is done when the white sesame seeds have turned a light golden and the black sesame seeds have puffed up with some cracks on their outer shell, like 2)
3) Next, finely mince the garlic (or alternatively grate)
4) Then sauté the garlic in oil until fragrant – around 1 minute on a medium heat
5) Once the garlic has turned a light golden, add the sauces, white pepper and sugar. Continue to mix on a low heat
6) Add the toasted sesame seeds and mix
7) Turn the heat off and add the toasted sesame oil
8) Add your sauce to the cooked fries along with a handful of spring onion greens
9) Best served immediately
Optional: Drizzle with chilli oil (for extra heat and flavour)
Making the 5 spice mayonnaise
Simply mix the ingredients together, then add 1tsp of water at a time until it forms a thick but pourable consistency
Spicy garlic and sesame fries Q+A:
Will this work with thicker cut fries?
Yes, though I do prefer it with thinner fries. It will still work just fine.
Can I use any other chilli sauce other than gochujang?
You can use sriracha or your favourite sauce. Maggi’s chilli sauces work well too. Just make sure it has a good kick to it, these fries should be pleasantly spicy.
However if you’re just struggling to find gochujang but still really want to use it, I have it linked above in the blogpost to order via Amazon.
What should I use if I can’t find 5 spice?
You can add a pinch of each: ground fennel, ground star anise, ground white/Szechuan pepper, ground cloves and ground cinnamon. Alternatively, you can leave it out and you’ll still have a great tasting mayonnaise.
If you loved these…
You’ll love my Sesame Potato Wedges! They’re crispy on the outside and melt in the mouth on the inside. With an amazing spicy sesame coating that elevates these wedges to a whole new level.
Spicy Garlic and Sesame Fries
- 500 g frozen fries
- 2 tbsp white sesame seeds
- 2 tbsp black sesame seeds
- 2 tbsp neutral flavoured oil sunflower, vegetable, rapeseed for e.g.
- 8 cloves of garlic minced
- 2 tbsp gochujang see blogpost for alternative sauces
- 2 tbsp light soy
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp white pepper
- 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
- Handful spring onion greens finely sliced
5 spice mayonnaise:
- 2 tbsp mayo/vegan mayo
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp 5 spice
- 1-2 tsp water to thin out
- First toast your sesame seeds in a wide shallow pan on low heat, tossing every 2-3 minutes. This will take around 5-7 minutes
- Place your fries into the oven, or air fry. I air fried mine for 12-13 mins at 180'C. Bake/airfry until golden and crispy
- Whilst the fries are cooking, sauté your minced garlic in the neutral oil on a medium heat until fragrant and just turning golden
- Add in your gochujang, light soy, rice vinegar, sugar, and white pepper. Mix to combine
- Then add the toasted sesame seeds and mix once more. Turn the heat off and finish the sauce with the toasted sesame oil
- Combine the sauce with the fries and the spring onion greens. Toss to mix. Best served immediately.
- For the 5spice mayonnaise, simply mix all the mayo ingredients together until thick but pourable and drizzle over the fries. Or keep aside for dunking