A Healthy Chip Butty With French Fries, Marmite and Protein

A chip butty with added protein, HP sauce and marmite
A chip butty with added protein, HP sauce and marmite | Source

What is a Chip Butty?

In the United Kingdom, the word “butty” refers to a sandwich made with buttered bread. A chip butty is a traditional treat in parts of the UK. It consists of white bread, butter - often thickly spread - and hot chips (French fries). The chips are stacked in layers and covered with tomato ketchup or brown sauce (HP sauce), according to the eater’s preference. Ideally, they are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. A traditional chip butty is loaded with carbohydrates, low in insoluble fibre and high in saturated fat, but it tastes delicious!

I loved chip butties when I was a child, and I still do. As an adult I make a healthier version that is more nutritionally balanced than the traditional chip butty but is still tasty. My version contains whole grains to provide insoluble fibre and is lower in total fat than a usual butty. In addition, the fat that is present is healthier. I add protein to the sandwich to increase its nutritional value. Eating this chip sandwich with a dark green salad provides a complete meal.

HP sauce and marmite - great for chip butties!
HP sauce and marmite - great for chip butties! | Source

Ingredients for a Healthier Chip Butty

One nice thing about chip butty recipes is that they can be very versatile. All you need to make a traditional butty is bread, butter, chips and a sauce. Different breads, spreads, sauces, spices and extras can be used to vary the taste and improve the nutritional content of the sandwich.

Here are the ingredients that I use most often for my chip butties.

  • Two slices of whole wheat bread
  • Light cream cheese
  • Marmite (small quantity)
  • Low fat French fries
  • HP sauce (small quantity)
  • One egg
  • Low fat vegetarian "meat" that is sold pre-cooked - two slices of bacon or ham or slices of sausage

There are some low fat frozen fries available, but the best kind are homemade oven baked fries that have been sprinkled with just a little bit of a healthy vegetable oil, such as olive oil. Herbs and spices are a nice addition, too. You'll need about seven fries per butty, depending on the size of the fries and the size of the bread.

A Chip Butty Recipe With Homemade Fries

Nutrients in Eggs

The egg and vegetarian meat in my version of a chip butty provide protein. Eggs are a nutritious food. They do contain cholesterol, but researchers say that in most people eating eggs doesn’t increase the cholesterol level in the blood.

A medium sized egg contains about 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of fat. Only a small amount of this fat - about 1.4 grams - is saturated.

Eggs are a good source of B vitamins and also contain vitamins A and D. They are rich in selenium and are a source of iron as well. Two additional nutrients in eggs are lutein and zeaxanthin, which are good for eye health. These nutrients are believed to reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

An egg is a nutrient-rich food.
An egg is a nutrient-rich food. | Source

Some eggs contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are believed to have a number of health benefits. They may be helpful for the cardiovascular system and the brain.

What is Marmite?

I like to add marmite to my chip butty to increase the flavour. Marmite is a dark brown and strong-tasting spread made from yeast extract, spices and salt. I've eaten it since childhood and love the taste. Marmite is a vegetarian food but tastes meaty.

People seem to fall into two categories with respect to marmite - they either love it or hate it. Some of the haters might well turn into marmite lovers if they remembered to use a thin smear of the spread in their sandwiches instead of a spoonful. A thin layer of marmite can be very tasty; a thick layer can be overwhelming.

Thickly-spread marmite on toast; I love marmite, but I would never spread it this thick! I like it when patches of butter, margarine or other spread are showing in between patches of marmite.
Thickly-spread marmite on toast; I love marmite, but I would never spread it this thick! I like it when patches of butter, margarine or other spread are showing in between patches of marmite. | Source

The History of Marmite

The label on a jar of marmite shows a large, covered cooking pot made of earthenware or metal, which is called a "marmite" in French. The earliest versions of marmite spread were sold in small earthenware containers. Even today the product is sold in containers that have a shape resembling a marmite.

Justus von Liebig, a nineteenth century German chemist, is considered to be the creator of marmite. He discovered that concentrated brewer's yeast could make a tasty food.

The Marmite Food Company was established in 1902 in Burton-upon-Trent, England. This company made a product resembling the modern marmite from leftover yeast provided by a brewery. The British version of marmite that is sold today generally contains added B vitamins - including vitamin B12 - and is therefore more nutritious than other versions. Vitamin B12 is an especially important nutrient for vegans to obtain, since their diet usually contains a low level of this vitamin.

HP sauce contains tamarind extract. This is a tamarind tree and pod.
HP sauce contains tamarind extract. This is a tamarind tree and pod. | Source

The tamarind plant (Tamarindus indica) is a tropical plant. The pulp from the elongated fruits is a popular food ingredient.

What is HP Sauce?

HP sauce is a brown sauce made from vinegar, tamarind extract, dates, tomatoes, spices, salt and a sweetener, which is usually molasses. The tamarind is a leguminous tree that produces fruits in the form of pods. The fruit is flavourful and has a sweet-sour taste.

HP sauce has a distinctive savoury - sweet taste. Like marmite, HP sauce contains salt, but this may not be a problem if the diet is otherwise low in salt and if the sauce is used in small quantities as a condiment. Some people love to cover their food with HP sauce, though!

You'll notice that the bottle of HP sauce in my photo above has a label showing the Houses of Parliament. This is a significant image in relation to the history of the sauce. In the late nineteenth century, a grocer from Nottingham named Frederick Gibson Garten created the first HP sauce. He heard that his brown sauce was being served to MPs in the Houses of Parliament, which gave him the idea for the HP name and picture.

The only HP sauce that I use is the classic variety. Nontraditional varieties including a fruity version and a barbecue version are also available, but I've never tried them. I love the classic version!

A chip butty that is ready to eat
A chip butty that is ready to eat | Source

Instructions for Making the Chip Butty

  • Cook the frozen French fries according to the package instructions, or make your own fries.
  • Hard boil the egg while the fries are cooking.
  • When the fries and egg are nearly ready, toast the bread slices.
  • Spread each piece of toast with cream cheese and a thin layer of marmite. The marmite shouldn't completely cover the cream cheese (unless you like to spread it thick). If you've never eaten marmite before you might want to spread it on only one slice of bread until you discover how much you like to eat.
  • Place one layer of French fries on one of the pieces of toast.
  • Pour HP sauce on top of the fries. The sauce tends to come out of the bottle in dollops. Only a few dollops are needed to provide flavour.
  • Place slices of hard boiled egg on top of the fries.
  • Place the slices of vegetarian meat on top of the egg.
  • Top with the other piece of toast.
  • Eat and enjoy!

How to Make Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet potatoes with orange flesh are usually known as yams in North America. They are very nutritious and are loaded with beta-carotene. Our bodies convert beta-carotene into vitamin A.

Some Possible Ingredient Substitutions

Many different ingredients can be added to a chip butty. Some ingredient substitutions that work well are listed below.

  • Sprouted whole grain bread instead of regular whole grain bread
  • Bread that is made from a mixture of whole grain flour and white flour
  • Sweet potato fries instead of regular fries
  • Fries made from purple, red or yellow-fleshed potatoes
  • French fries with the skin left on
  • Butter (in moderation), margarine, a vegan spread or mashed avocado instead of cream cheese
  • Tomato ketchup, a cheese sauce or melted cheese instead of HP sauce
  • A different type of vegetarian meat

You can also change the recipe in other ways, such as by:

  • leaving out the egg and using a vegan spread to create a vegan chip butty
  • leaving out the marmite, the HP sauce and possibly the vegan meat if you are following a very low salt diet
  • adding spices for flavour instead of sauces
  • adding slices of mushroom, tomato, bell pepper or onion

The great thing about a chip butty is that you can make it your own, adding the ingredients that you like for a tasty or nutritious meal and leaving out any ingredients that you don't like.

A traditional chip butty with white bread, tomato sauce and extra chips
A traditional chip butty with white bread, tomato sauce and extra chips | Source

© 2012 Linda Crampton

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Comments 14 comments

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

My hubby would love this recipe, anything with fries is an A on his list of good eats. The marmite looks interesting, but where do you buy this? Thanks for sharing.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, teaches. I love fries too! I'm able to get marmite at my local supermarket. You might be able to get it in a health food store or a speciality food store that sells imported food if the supermarkets in your area don't sell it.


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

OMG, Alicia, I read your title quickly, thought it included the word, marmot, and was astounded. Marmot? A big rat? In a recipe? Read it again and realized my mistake. Thanks for the butty education.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

That's so funny, drbj!! Some people need a while to get used to eating marmite. I certainly don't think they would accept marmot in a recipe! Thanks for the visit.


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 4 years ago

BUTTY!!! Okay, that's a new culinary term I learned today. The recipe sounds really nice and simple. I guess I'll fix myself a butty sometime soon. :)


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Om Paramapoonya. Chip butties do have an interesting name, and they are simple to make - or you can make them more elaborate, depending on what you add! Thanks for commenting.


kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Hi my friend,now this is something i could sink my teeth into, i will try a chip butty or two over the weekend.

Vote up and more !!!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thanks for commenting and for the vote, Tom. I hope you enjoy the chip butties!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

Hi Alicia,

This is definitely an education for me. I have never heard of the term "butty" with regard to a sandwich nor the ingredient marmot. What is the closest taste to how you would describe marmot. Any substitutions? Thanks for an interesting and useful hub. Voted that and up.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Peggy. Thanks for the votes. Marmite has a very distinctive taste. I can't think of any other spread - except for vegemite - that tastes similar. They're both made from yeast extract. Nutritional yeast powder tastes somewhat like cheese and could be sprinkled on the chips in place of the marmite. The marmite can be left out, though - chip butties taste good without it as well as with it!


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 4 years ago

Hi Alicia, your "Chip Buddy" sounds good to me...Anything with Ketchup sounds good to me. Lover Man and I are definitely going to make this Recipe and ENJOY!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, b. Malin. Thanks for the visit! I make my chip butties with ketchup instead of HP sauce sometimes - they taste just as good. I hope that you and Lover Man do enjoy the recipe!


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia

Wow...I love your recipe. It sound delicious and healthy as well. Good job, Alicia. I really enjoy this hub. I can't wait to share this hub with my mother. Rated up and take care!

Prasetio


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you for the comment and the rating, Prasetio. I hope that your mother enjoys the recipe. I like to eat tasty food, but I also like to make it reasonably healthy if I can. Have a great weekend!

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