August 18, 2012

What to do with Potatoes : 2 Recipes

I feel sorry for Potatoes, Batata in Arabic. All the slurs against these poor potatoes - potato head, couch potato, fat as a Arabic we have them too when we say kulo batata - meaning empty cheap stuff.

Well potatoes are cheap, true..but they are not meaningless. It all depends on your perception of them.
If you are used to mashing them (boring), boiling them (boring) or just frying  (again boring and lethal to health), then obviously you would look down upon a potato.

In today's 2 recipes - not one but two!, this erroneous perception of a potato is about to change.
These 2 recipes will also be my own ritual to bid goodbye to my strict 30 vegetarian diet during Ramadan. And what better way to do with but with the underrated potato.

I suppose by now you know what you are supposed to do  --- if you are new to my blog, read my welcome note first. Thanks.

Recipe No. 1  - Batata bil Zeit - Potatoes in OLIVE OIL.

There are several recipes for Batata bil Zeit, this is an Iraqi one given to me by my grandmother and mother, may Allah bless them both. I have expanded upon it a little bit so please don't tell them as they may get offended that am messing about with their cooking.

So let's get started with Recipe No.1

For 2 people you will need the following :

- a non stick largish saucepan - I use a DEEP pan with a lid.
- 6 medium size potatoes, washed, peeled and cut in medium thick round slices (too thin they crumble and too thick they take longer to cook)
- 1 medium size onion sliced into thin rings
- 1 RED pepper bell, sliced into thin rings then cut in half
- 4 generous TBS of pure virgin olive oil (no other oil will do sorry)
- 1/2 tsp of ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp of  sweet paprika
- a dash of Turmeric (optional)
- salt and pepper to your liking

Preparation :

- salt your sliced potatoes and leave on side
- on medium heat, put oil in saucepan, and fry the onion rings and bell pepper rings until tender
- add the spices : cumin plus paprika plus a little pepper and a dash of turmeric
- mix well and leave to simmer a minute or two
- add potato slices, mix well, leave to simmer a couple of minutes more
- now add enough water to just cover the potatoes you don't want a soup, just enough water to cover the mix
- turn heat to medium low and cook until the potatoes are tender. The sauce should look thick
- if you have put too much water, do not cover pan, leave it to evaporate by itself.

You can serve this hot or cold as an appetizer or a side dish. Decorate with some Fresh Parsley.

Recipe No.2  Potato Tart.

For two you will need the following:

- a 20 cm round baking tray (8 inches)
- 100 grams of unsweetened ready made puff pastry
- a knob of butter
- 3 medium size potatoes 3/4 boiled (meaning not totally boiled, they should still be a little raw)
- sweet paprika
- ground cumin
-salt, pepper
- a dash of olive oil
- 3-4 branches of FRESH  dill (leaves) chopped
- fine grated Parmesan cheese


- preheat your oven to max
- roll out your puff pastry using a little flour and rolling pin, enough to fit the tray, the pastry should not be too thick,
- peel and cut the 3/4 boiled potatoes into slices
- butter the tray, sprinkle a little flour on top
- place your puff pastry in tray  if excess on sides, just roll them in
- put your potatoes on top of pastry, sprinkle with salt, paprika, cumin, and cover with  grated cheese (not too much cheese, just enough to give it that extra flavor),
- pour a dash of olive oil on top
- finally sprinkle your fresh chopped dill
- put your tray in oven, turn down heat to medium and leave it to bake until the pastry puffs up and the potatoes become golden on top. It should not take more than 15 mn.

Enjoy,  Sahtain . And to my Muslim readers - Happy Eid !