French fries are a perennially alluring side dish, with their crisp exterior and tender, fluffy interior, but they're also rather limited. At the end of the day, a french fry is a french fry, and there's not a lot of variation between them. Some restaurant chains break the mold by flouring and seasoning their potatoes before they're fried, creating a very different end result. These are typically called "mojo" potatoes, a name given by one such chain. They're easy to make at home, and provide a fine way to use up leftover potatoes.
Cut your baked potatoes into 1/4-inch rounds or lengthwise into wedges, if you prefer. The rounds can also be cut into half-moons to provide a higher percentage of crisp, golden surface.
Mix flour with your choice of seasonings, which typically include varying mixtures of salt, pepper, chili powder and cayenne. Feel free to adjust the proportions to suit your own taste. Whisk the dry ingredients together thoroughly in a shallow bowl or shake them together in a food-grade plastic bag.
Dip your potatoes into milk, a beaten egg or a mixture of the two. Transfer them in small batches to the flour mixture and toss them, if you're using a bowl, or shake them if you're using a bag.
Heat your oil in a countertop deep fryer or a deep, straight-sided pot, until it reaches a temperature of 375 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oil is heating, warm your oven to 200 F and place a sheet pan lined with paper towels on the middle rack.
Shake any excess flour from your potatoes and carefully slide them into the hot oil, a few at a time. Cook them until they're crisp and golden-brown, just 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, then lift your potatoes from the oil with a slotted spoon and transfer them to the paper-lined sheet pan.
Repeat this process as soon as your oil returns to its original temperature, continuing until all the potatoes have cooked. Serve them hot as a side dish with chicken, hamburgers and other family favorites.
The shape of your potato determines the relative proportions of crisp exterior and soft interior. Half-moons have a crisper surface than full rounds, which have more of a soft, fluffy, steamy interior. Wedges offer more of both. The sharp-angled corners are especially crisp, but their triangular cross-section ensures there'll be lots of soft potato inside.
If you don't have a countertop deep-fryer, clip a candy or deep-fry thermometer to the side of your pot. If you don't have a thermometer, drop a cube of day-old bread into the hot fat. if your 1-inch cube of bread toasts to golden brown in 45 to 50 seconds, your oil is the correct temperature.
If you'd rather not fry your potatoes, you can mist them lightly with oil and bake them in a 450 F oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
Ordinary french fries are cooked first in low-temperature oil -- a process called "blanching" -- and then finished in hot oil to make them crisp. Beginning your mojo potatoes with already-cooked baked potatoes serves the same purpose.