PPotatoes taste, travel, and keep best when covered in clods of soil, because the soil protects them from light and easy bruising. However, soil embedded or not, always store potatoes in a cool, dark cupboard, although the jury is still out on whether they will keep longer if stored with apples, due to the ethylene released by the fruit; The moisture produced by onions and other fruits and vegetables, meanwhile, can speed germination, so keep them separate. (If your potatoes start to sprout or turn green, remove and compost these toxic parts – that said, if you have the outside space, you can also let them continue to sprout and then plant them in the garden.)
Leftover cooked potatoes are a treasure for any cook, especially since they will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator and save cooking time for later meals. Crush and dress with vinaigrette, capers, eggs and herbs. Or make “perforated” Portuguese potatoes, an alternative to skin-roasted potatoes that involves gently mashing cooked potatoes and then deep-frying them at high heat. Or, dice it, then sauté it and serve it with aioli and spicy tomato sauce to make patatas bravas. Or make them the current Indian-inspired dish adapted from my last book.
In India, chaat is a popular street food snack typically served on palm leaf “plates”. This dish is a bit like a spiced potato hash, and it’s perfect for brunch and to use up leftover cooked potatoes (it also makes a glorious samosa filling). Tomato chunks turn into sweet, juicy flavor bombs that explode in your mouth, while yogurt and tamarind finishing touches help cool spice levels and enrich the dish.
Chaat masala is an aromatic blend of spices that gives chaat its unique flavor. You can buy it at Indian food stores or online, but it is also easy to prepare (and freshly ground spices are always more fragrant, as is coffee). That being said, if garam masala is all you have access to, it will still work fine here.
It serves 1 generously, or 2 as a snack
1 tablespoon cooking oil
250g leftover cooked potatoes
two teaspoon chaat masala, or garam masala, plus 1 extra teaspoon for serving
120g cooked carlin peas (or other legumes)
1 tomato, cut into eight wedges
1 spring onion, trimmed and finely chopped top to tail
3 sprigs of coriander, finely chopped stems, chopped leaves
green chile, thinly sliced, to taste
1 tablespoon tamarind paste, to serve
Yoghurt (dairy or vegetable), to serve
1-2 slices of lime, to serve
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Mash the potatoes, add to the hot pan and fry, stirring occasionally, for five minutes, until they start to brown.
Add the chaat, the cooked legumes and the tomato and continue cooking for a few minutes, until the potatoes are golden brown.
Add chives, cilantro, and sliced green chili to taste, setting a little of each aside for garnish.
Pour into a bowl, top with the reserved onion, cilantro, and chili, sprinkle with a little more chaat, and serve with a drizzle of tamarind yogurt paste and a lime wedge.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism