This is my take on my cooking idol Yottam Ottolenghi’s Spiced Potato Cakes from his amazing vegetarian cookbook “Plenty More” . I adapted this recipe to work in my kitchen, and I realized I had run out of the Indian paste called tamarind (drat), so I improvised. (google to the rescue) Here’s the result:
Spiced Potato Cakes with Herbed Filling
Serves two to four, depending on other dinner items.
~2 lbs. small potatoes, I used white but yellow or yukon will also work
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp black or brown mustard seeds, toasted
2 T butter
¼ c hot water
3½ cups cilantro leaves/stems
1½ cups loose mint leaves
2 T jalapeno peppers, roughly chopped
2 tbsp tamarind paste OR 3 Tbs. pomegranate molasses
1-2 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 dates (or 2 T sugar)
Coconut oil, for frying
1 lemon, cut into wedges, or a sweet chutney, to serve
Yogurt sauce, recipe at bottom.
Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil, add the potatoes and cook for 15 minutes until soft. Transfer to the sink, and peel the skins under cold running water. Put the potatoes in a bowl with the turmeric, mustard seeds and a quarter-teaspoon of salt, mash well and leave to cool. If they are difficult to mash, add some butter, if they are still really “thick”, add a bit of water.
Put the coriander, mint, jalapeno, tamarind (or pomegranate molasses), garlic, dates and another quarter-teaspoon of salt into a food processor and blitz to a smooth, paste.
Take a small handful of the potato mixture (about cookie sized) and shape into a ball. Place this in the palm of one hand and use the thumb of the other hand to make a dent large enough to fill with a teaspoon of the spice mix. Once the mixture is added, shape the potato back into a ball, then flatten it between both hands so the cake is 1-1.25 inch thick. Repeat with the remaining potato and spice mixture until it’s used up – you should have about 12-18 cakes, depending on their size.
Add a Tablespoon of coconut oil to a ceramic or non-stick pan. Place over a medium heat and, once hot, fry the cakes in batches for five to eight minutes, turning once, until light golden and crisp on the outside. Serve at once, with a wedge of lemon or some sweet chutney on the side. You MUST use a high heat oil, ghee or avocado oil will also work. Do NOT use vegetable oil or olive, they smoke at lower temps, and you want them crispy on outside.
Yogurt Spice Sauce:
I had extra “filling” left over, that I whipped with some plain greek yogurt, and used as a sauce. Added a teaspoon more of pomegranate molasses, done! (the rest before this was hard enough!)
I STRONGLY recommend all of Ottolenghi’s Cookbooks, here’s his page on Amazon for ideas!