Friday, December 22, 2006

Spicy potato cakes

Some recipes for potato cakes involve flour, in a ratio of about 1 g flour to 4 g potato. The flour acts as binding; but I find the results a little glutenous. (Or perhaps I mean glutinous, which means gluey.)

If you leave out the flour, you have to treat the cakes with care. The longer they spend in the frying pan, the more likely they are to break up; so I fry them quickly, and then put them in the oven to warm through. The quick frying means that they absorb less oil, because they rapidly develop a crust.

The quantity of spices here may seem large. But you need a lot of spice to spice up a potato.

For 2
4 medium potatoes
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
4 dried chillis
Groundnut or sunflower oil, for frying

Peel the potatoes, cut them into chunks, and put them into a saucepan of cold, salted water. (Salt speeds softening -- and you're going to mash these potatoes.) Bring to the boil, and simmer until tender. Drain, and return to the hot pan to steam. When they're dry, mash them. (I use a masher, because I don't mind a course texture; but when I'm cooking mashed potatoes, I push them through a vegetable mill.)

Meanwhile, put the cumin and coriander into a dry saucepan above a gentle heat, and cook them until they give off a toasted aroma. Whizz them with the chillis. (I have a small, electric herb mill. You might also use a pestle and mortar -- though it's hard to disintegrate chillis in this way.)

Tip the spices and chilli into the mashed potato; add salt if necessary. When the mixture is cool enough, form it with your hands into eight patties. If you have time, put them into the fridge, where they will firm up.

Turn the oven to gas mark 6/200 C. Heat a frying pan above a medium to high flame; add a layer of oil, and fry the potato cakes; you want each side to be browned in a couple of minutes. Transfer the cakes to a baking tray, and put in the oven for 10 minutes to finish warming through.


a.c.t. said...

I always make potato cakes when there's leftover mashed potato but mine always fall apart. I was told that using egg is a good way of making sure they stay together, but I'll try your method first.

Rose said...

Hi Nicholas, I had decided to stop eating meat for a while and was looking for a recipe for potato cakes when I came across yours for spicy ones. I made them yesterday yummy !! thanks , I made some plain and some spicy.
Kind regards Rose

Nicholas Clee said...

Thanks, Rose. Glad they worked -- they can be tricky. Giving them time to firm up in the fridge helps. Nowadays, I tend not to salt the potato water.