Asian Potatoes Food Recipes

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For the best results when cooking potatoes, be aware that there are different kinds of potatoes, and that some varieties lend themselves to certain types of dishes much better than others.
Some recipes specify the use of new, waxy, firm-fleshed, floury or old potatoes. Such distinctions can sound bewildering, but rest assured: they are not. The basic distinction to make is between waxy and floury potatoes.

Waxy potatoes are high in moisture, and contain less starch than floury potatoes. They have relatively thin skins and a yellowy, almost waxy flesh. Being firm fleshed, waxy potatoes boil well and will not come apart if cooked a few minutes longer than recommended; they also make wonderful salad potatoes and are perfect for casseroles and rôsti. However, they are not much good for mashing or making into chips. Some varieties of waxy potato include bintji, pink fir apple, as well as potatoes labeled as 'salad' and 'new' potatoes.

Floury potatoes have a low moisture and sugar content, and because they are high in starch, they fluff up nicely when baked or mashed. They turn golden when fried or roasted, and are good for making chips. Most 'old' potatoes are floury. Russet, spunta and nicola potatoes are some common varieties of floury potatoes.

Whatever variety you buy, choose potatoes that feel firm and heavy to the touch, and discard any that have soft spots, sprouting or discoloration. Always reject potatoes with green skins, as they have developed an alkaloid that can result in illness. Store potatoes in a cool, dry place away from light, and always remove them from any plastic packaging they may be sold in as the plastic will hasten their deterioration. Remember too that while the potato is a highly nutritious vegetable, overcooking and bad storage will destroy nutrients, especially vitamin C.

Clarifying butter
Removing the water and solids from butter makes it less likely to bum. Ghee is a form of clarified butter. To make 100 g clarified butter, cut 180 g butter into small cubes. Place in a small pan set in a larger pot of water over low heat Melt the butter without stirring. Skim the foam, without stirring the butter. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Pour off the dear yellow liquid, being very careful to leave the milky sediment behind in the pan. Discard the sediment and refrigerate the clarified butter in an airtight container.

Slicing by hand
Trimming and shaping potatoes before slicing helps give an attractive, even appearance to the dish. Peel the potatoes using a vegetable peeler or sharp knife. Using a potato peeler or sharp knife, trim the potato to on even shape. Using a large sharp knife cut the potato into slices about 2 mm thick.

Hasselback potatoes
Cutting large potatoes in this way ensures even, quick cooking, as well as impressive presentation. Slice off the base of the potato to steady it. Make deep, thin parallel cuts across the potato, reaching almost to the bottom. The potato should hold together like the pages of a book.

Using a mandolin
This time-saving device has adjustable blades for slicing, shredding and waffle-cutting. Attach the potato to the mandolin guard. This will make it easier and safer to work with. For thin slices, work the potato against the straight blade, set to the thickness specified in the recipe. For long thin strips, work the potato against the shredding blade.

Making gaufrettes
Gaufrette means waffle. These potato baskets are used to hold a variety of vegetables and garnishes. Arrange the thinly sliced potatoes in the larger basket, and place the smaller basket inside. Holding the handles firmly, carefully lower the boskets under the hot oil and fry until golden brown.

Turning potatoes
This technique gives a lovely, uniform appearance to potatoes and ensures they cook at the same rate. Cut the potatoes lengthways into quarters. Holding a potato quarter in one hand, use a turning knife or small knife to trim off the edges and corners. In a curving motion, cut the potato from top to bottom, turning as you go. The classic shape is oval, and about the size of a small egg.

Puréeing potatoes
Potatoes may be puréed in several ways—but do not use a food processor as the result will be gluggy. Hold a sieve securely over a bowl and press the cooked potatoes through using a wooden spoon. Place the cooked potatoes in a mouli set over a bowl. Turn the handle to force the potato through. Push the cooked potatoes a little at a time through a ricer, into o large bowl. Continue turning the potato portion until you have a uniform shape.

Making potato croquettes
Fluffy inside, and crisp outside, croquettes are a lovely way of using up leftover potatoes. An easy way to divide the croquette mixture into even portions is to make o coke out of the mixture and cut into even surfaces. You can then shape each portion to the required shape and size. Gently toss or roll the croquettes in the flour, and shake off any excess. Dip the croquettes in the beaten egg, then in the breadcrumbs or almond mixture, shaking off any excess. If the mixture is a little too soft to hold its shape, coat again in egg and breadcrumbs. Refrigerate until ready to cook.

Deep-frying
Fill the fryer only one-third full of oil: do not leave it unattended. Dry food thoroughly before deep-frying. Preheat the oil in a deep-fat fryer or deep saucepan to 180°C. Place a bread cube in the oil: if it sizzles and turns golden brown in 15 seconds, the oil is hot enough. Place the potatoes or croquettes in a basket and carefully immerse them in the oil. Deep-fry in batches until golden and crisp, according to the time specified in the recipe. Shake off the excess oil, drain on crumpled paper towels and keep warm on a wire rack, uncovered, while frying the remaining batches.
 

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