Thursday, September 29, 2011
The Daily Special: Spicy Potato Matchsticks
1) Decide you will have gnocchi for dinner. Purchase the wrong type of potato since you haven’t made gnocchi since last winter. Let the two accidental baking potatoes sit around while you are busy with other things.
2) The potatoes need to be eaten. You’ve been traveling more than not this month. There is nothing else in the house to eat. This potato shall be dinner. How to best capitalize upon the situation?
3) Drag out the mandoline slicer with which you sliced off an alarming amount of your finger last year. Discover you do not have a waffle blade, so figure out how to install the julienne blade, instead. (This may take several minutes.)
4) Slice up your potato(es) into delightfully teeny tiny matchsticks, and deep fry them only a small handful at a time, since you can not stomach the thought of using an entire dollar’s worth of oil to cook one potato. Poke at them with a fork if you want to keep them separated while frying (drying them in a paper towel first helps), but it won’t really work, and they’ll stick to the fork if you poke them immediately after their submersion. Does it really matter if they come out as a charming birds nest instead of individual sticks?
5) If you can resist the temptation to eat them all as they come out of the pan (impressive!), allow them to drain while you prepare a paste of aromatics (onion, garlic, ginger, shallot, whatever), spices (cumin, chile, coriander, again whatever), and salt. Use your mortar and pestle if you wish to avoid food processor rage. Or use the mini food processor. It’s entirely up to you.
6) Slowly fry this paste in a tablespoon or two (or more, depends on how much paste you’ve got) of oil (yes! more oil! or use leftover from frying the potatoes) until it’s nearly dry and nicely browned. You can cook the paste and fry the batches of potatoes simultaneously, but you better have your kitchen kung-fu goin’ on, because if you look away from either for more than a few seconds, something is going to burn. Add your fried potatoes to the cooking paste, gently stir ‘round and mash up the bits of spicy goodness. Don’t try too hard to get it perfect, because who knows? Perhaps you’ll be the lucky one to hit the jackpot glob of spiciness in your mouthful of potatoes.
7) Enjoy with a cold beer. (Do not open the beer until the mandoline slicer is safely put away. No, really.) Turn on some Bollywood and pretend you are in Mumbai.
8) Oh, the glorious crunchiness of it all!