Crispy Curry Vegan Potato Pancakes

Because savoury pancakes beat sweet pancakes any day.


As much as I will always be a sweet tooth at heart, coriander beats chocolate in my book. Whilst we’re on the topic, what do you think about chilli infused chocolate? Is it the best of both worlds or an utter hit and miss?


This is a ridiculously easy snack recipe. It’s a variation of potato croquettes but with an Indian twist with the addition of the curry spices. If you’re shy of spicy food then feel free to either reduce the cayenne pepper added or serve with a dollop of yogurt on top! As much as I detest tomato sauce in every other context, I have to confess that it does compliment this particular dish.

Spicy Vegan Potato Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 2 large Russet potatoes, peeled
  • ¼ cup soy milk or any other plant based milk
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley
  • ½ cup plain flour

Method

  1. Fill a large saucepan with boiling salted water. Boil the potatoes until fork tender, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool. Pour the soy milk into the saucepan with the cool potatoes and mash until smooth.
  2. Add the mashed potatoes to a medium bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Mix until combined. Shape into 8 patties and place on a baking sheet. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  3. Add enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of a large frying pan and allow to heat until almost smoking. Fry the patties until golden brown, about 5 minutes on each side. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan. Drain on paper towels. Serve warm with tomato sauce, fresh parsley and fresh mint. Enjoy!

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30 Minute Mexican Potato and Kale Anytime Hash

The 30 minute dinner of my dreams.Whenever I’m tired, uninspired or just lazy to cook, this is what I have for dinner. Roasted potatoes cooked in a tomato sauce and topped with a runny poached egg; what more could I want? What I love about this recipe is that it isn’t strict or bound by a set of predetermined rules. Only got sweet potatoes? That’s fine, sub them in. Hate spicy food? Leave the cayenne pepper out. Are you pressed for time? Take a shortcut and fry the potatoes on the stove top instead of roasting them in the oven.

This recipe is full of glorious shortcuts and magical alteration options, you can top it with more fresh herbs, some grated cheese (or nutritional yeast if vegan), sour cream, the options are endless! Go forth my lovelies: cook dinner, take photos, tag me in your photos, I’d love to see what you come up with! Happy weekend!

30 Minute Mexican Potato and Kale Anytime Hash

Ingredients

For the potatoes:

  • 2 Russet potatoes, washed, unpeeled and chopped into bite sized pieces (may sub sweet potatoes)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp each salt and black pepper
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp ground mustard
  • ½ tsp dried oregano

For the hash:

  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 cup chopped kale

optional for serving: poached egg (here’s a handy guide), nutritional yeast, whole grain toast or parmesan cheese

Method

Preheat your oven to 200°C/400°F. In a large bowl, throw together all the ingredients for the potatoes and shake until the potatoes are covered in spice. Lay the potatoes in a single layer on a large baking tray and roast for 20 minutes or until browned and crispy on the outside.

Once the potatoes have roasted, heat a deep cast iron pot on high, add a glug of vegetable oil and fry the diced onion until translucent, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat before adding the tomato paste. Cook until the tomato paste has caramelised, being careful not to let it burn, another 2 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and stir until everything has combined. Add the kale and roasted potatoes to the pot and stir to coat in the sauce. Cook on low heat until the kale has softened, about 5 minutes.

Serve immediately topped with a poached egg (omit if vegan), nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese! Leftovers keep well in the fridge and make a delicious lunch, enjoy!

Roasted Buffalo Chickpea and Cauliflower Stuffed Baked Potatoes

The recipe title is a mouthful, but this meal is every bit as tantalising as you would expect it to be.


Last week, I picked up a bunch of cauliflower at the store so I had been meaning to make something along the lines of roasted cauliflower. The problem was: how would I turn that into a recipe? Would I serve it over rice and style it as General Tso Cauliflower? Or would I whip up an Asian style sweet and sour sauce and wrap them in lettuce leaves to make pretty wraps? There were so many options but none of them really stuck out at me. That was until I came across this recipe by The First Mess. Laura’s blog is super neat, and her website is a staple for anyone who’s already on a plant based diet or is looking to include more vegan recipes in their diet. She also just released her first cookbook and it’s full of the most amazing recipes!

I took a different path to Laura in this recipe by choosing to dip the cauliflower florets in batter and roasting them just to make them that much more crunchy. I also decided to roast the chickpeas because I was looking for something I could snack on during shooting #sorrynotsorry.


If there’s anything I’m going to tell you today it’s to stop everything you’re doing and make this right now. Understood? Good, now let’s get in the kitchen!


Roasted Buffalo Chickpea and Cauliflower Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Ingredients

For the buffalo seasoning:

  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • ½ tsp onion powder

For the potatoes:

  • 4 Russet potatoes, washed (leave the skin on)
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • ½ tsp garlic powder

For the stuffing:

  • 1 small head of cauliflower, about 3 cups chopped cauliflower florets
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 4 tsp of the buffalo seasoning, separated into 2 tsp + 2 tsp
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup soaked but uncooked chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

For the buffalo sauce:

  • 1 cup hot sauce of your choosing
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup maple syrup (may increase if you want to reduce the heat)
  • 2 tsp of the buffalo seasoning
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Optional for serving: nutritional yeast flakes, fresh herbs, ranch dressing

Method

  1. Start by preparing the buffalo seasoning. Combine all the ingredients in a ramekin and mix well. Use as directed in the rest of the recipe. You may increase the quantity if you wish and keep any extras to use in other recipes.
  2. Add the potatoes to a baking tray. In a ramekin/small bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil, mixed herbs and garlic powder for the potatoes. Prick the potatoes all over with a fork and drizzle the oil mixture over the potatoes. Bake in an oven at 180°C/350°F for approximately 1 hour, or until a fork easily pierces the potato.
  3. Whilst the potatoes are baking, chop the head of cauliflower into small florets. Line a 9×12 roasting pan with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, 2 tsp of the buffalo seasoning and water until you have a thick batter.
  4. Dip the cauliflower florets into the batter before laying them on the baking sheet. If you’re like me and the thought of dipping each cauliflower floret sounds like madness, add the cauliflower florets to the bowl and shake until the florets are covered in batter. Use a fork to transfer the florets from the batter to the roasting pan, letting any excess batter drip off. Roast the cauliflower at 180°C/350°F for 20 minutes.
  5. Drizzle the chickpeas with the olive oil and roast in the oven at 180°C/350°F for 20 minutes then remove the chickpeas from the oven and set aside. Meanwhile, prepare the buffalo sauce.
  6. Add all the ingredients to a medium saucepan and whisk to combine. Bring the sauce to a boil then turn off the heat but don’t remove from the pot as yet.
  7. Once the cauliflower has been roasting for 20 minutes, pour about a cup of the buffalo sauce over the cauliflower and toss until coated. Return the cauliflower to the oven for another 10 minutes or until the sauce has bonded to the cauliflower.
  8. Pour the remaining buffalo sauce over the chickpeas and toss to coat.
  9. Once the potatoes have finished baking, remove from the oven and let cool until you can handle them with your hands. Slice the potatoes in half longitudinally, and then scoop out the soft middle. You can mash this and eat separately if desired- I just mashed the insides and added them straight back to the potatoes. Add the potato halves back to the baking tray before spooning the buffalo cauliflower into the middle of the potato followed by the chickpeas. Repeat until you’ve used up all the potatoes. Return to the oven for 10 minutes to warm through then serve immediately with nutritional yeast, fresh herbs and ranch dressing. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The First Mess

Curry Vegetable & Potato Latkes with Herbed Yoghurt

Shalom all ye readers! Hanukkah was a whole month ago but I’m still reeling over latkes in February (is that strange?).

Throwback to when I made these last December. No, we don’t still have a Christmas tree up in February, that’s madness. 
This photo was taken this morning, a whole month later. It’s amazing to see how much my photography skills have improved in such a small space of time
This week, I’ve decided to pay homage to the Jewish people in my life with these curry vegetable and potato latkes. My first attempt at latkes was in March last year and it was an absolute disaster. They were thick (and hadn’t cooked in the middle), rubbery and had 0 flavour whatsoever. At that moment, I put down my spatula, retired to my bedroom and decided that that was that. 2 weeks later, I tried a different aspect of Jewish culture and managed to produce a perfect loaf of Challah Bread. Score.


Last December, I decided to put away my sissy pants and give latkes another try. And my god were they UH-MAZING. Top it with a soft fried egg and you will be in breakfast heaven. In 2017, I’m pledging to give up less, and learn to give things another try. In the spirit of trying new things, give these latkes a go!

Curry Vegetable and Potato Latkes                                                                                makes 6 

Ingredients

For the herbed sour cream:

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup fresh mint
  • ¼ cup fresh rosemary
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup sour cream (may sub Greek yogurt for less calories)
  • a crack of salt and pepper

For the latkes:

  • 1 large Russet potato, peeled
  • 1 medium carrot, washed
  • ½ yellow onion, peeled
  • 2 baby marrows
  • 1/3 cup flour + extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp of the following spices: salt, black pepper, chilli powder
  • *½ tsp of the following: ground cumin, ground coriander, ground turmeric, garlic powder and onion powder
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil

Essential utensils:

  • 2 large pieces cheesecloth/muslin or 1 large clean dishtowel
  • Deep saucepan + ½ cup vegetable oil for frying
  • Grater

Method

Make the herbed yogurt:

Add the garlic, mint, rosemary and olive oil to a mortar and pestle and crush. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle then you can just chop the herbs and garlic finely. Add the herbs to the sour cream and stir.  Let sit at room temperature and infuse whilst you prepare the latkes.

Make the latkes: 

  1. Grate the potato through the larger divisions of a cheese grater. Transfer the peeled potato to the centre of the cheesecloth. Wrap the potatoes tightly in the cheesecloth and squeeze as much moisture out of the potato as you can. I got about a cup worth of water. Remove the potato to a large bowl and discard the cheesecloth.
  2. Grate the carrot, onion and baby marrows and transfer to the second piece of cheesecloth**. Try to squeeze as much moisture as possible out of the vegetables (I got ½ cup worth) before transferring to the same bowl as the potatoes.
  3.  Toss the mixture together with your hands to evenly distribute the vegetables. Add in the flour and spices and toss until the vegetables are completely coated in the spices. Crack the egg into the bowl and use a fork to work the egg into the dry mix. Stop mixing when the veggies are coated in egg.
  4. Wet your hands with water and grab a handful of batter and shape into a flat pancake. If the mixture won’t hold together because it’s too wet, add 2 tbsp of flour and try again. Try to make them as flat as possible. Repeat until you’ve used up all the batter.
  5. In a deep saucepan, heat the oil to 350°F. Shallow fry the latkes in batches, for 2-4 minutes on each side or until deep golden brown on the outside. Serve immediately with the herbed yogurt and consider adding a fried egg on top!

Notes:

*If you want a quick cheat then you can sub 2 tsp of curry powder here

**I know that you are secretly thinking about squeezing the potatoes and the vegetables together in the same piece of cheesecloth because Andrea is totally crazy if she thinks that I’m honestly going to waste 2 whole pieces of cheesecloth! I’m not your mum, you don’t have to listen to me, do what you want. I tried this and it was difficult to get a piece of cheesecloth large enough to fit everything. It was also more difficult to squeeze water out because of the bulk of the vegetables. But hey, you can go your own way if you wish.

Bangin’ Cheesy Chicken Nachos 

Happy New Year!

Whilst I’m sure most of you are breaking out your gym shoes and stocking up on healthy foods to start the New Year Detox, I’m piling on the chicken and cheese because #newyearnewme is a lie and we know it. January 1st approaches and we all feel the need to make instant fleeting changes to our lives. My question to you all is why?


Why wait until the calendar changes before you make a change? Why must the diet start on Monday? Why must your will to improve yourself depend on the Earth’s current position in its orbit around the sun? My message today: stop waiting. If you want to lose that extra 10 pounds, start now. If you’re not keen on joining but you feel pressured to do it because it’s what all your friends are doing: don’t do it. Stay at home, munch on these nachos, your wallet will be grateful. Your mind will be at ease 2 months later when they’ve all stopped going.


Instead of feeling the need to reinvent ourselves every 365 days, let us celebrate the spirit of new beginnings and having the chance to make this year our own whilst staying true to ourselves. Given this, I decided that the first recipe I share with you this year will be these crispy potatoes topped with chicken tossed in a barbecue sauce all sprinkled with a mountain of cheese. YES. I’ve made this about 5 times already and I can’t get enough of it. Sometimes I eat healthy and sometimes I feel the need to drown myself in spicy rich unhealthy stuff. Today, I just happen to be in the mood for the latter.

Bangin’ Cheesy Chicken Nachos 

Ingredients

Spice mix: 

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

½ tsp thyme

½ tsp oregano

½ tsp rosemary

½ tsp cayenne pepper

¼ cup olive oil

For the potatoes: 

3 large Russet Potatoes, sliced thinly

1/8 cup of the spice mix

For the chicken: 

500g or 1 pound of chicken breast meat, cut into ½ inch cubes

1/8 cup of the spice mix

3 tbsp brown sugar

For the sauce: 

½ tsp ground mustard

½ cup tomato sauce

½ cup sweet chilli sauce

¼ cup honey

3 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp white vinegar

For assembly: 

1 cup white cheddar or mozzarella cheese, grated

a handful of fresh parsley to garnish

Method

  1. Start by combining all the ingredients for the spice mix in a small bowl. Whisk well to ensure even distribution of the spices throughout the oil. Set aside for use later.
  2. Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and place the potatoes in a single layer. Drizzle the spice mix over the potatoes and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and crisping up. Once baked, remove the potatoes and let cool.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the chicken. Add the remaining spice mix, brown sugar and mustard to the chicken breast meat and toss well to combine. Heat a large skillet on high and cook the chicken for 10-15 minutes or until no longer pink on the outside. Remove to a bowl and use 2 forks to shred.
  4. In the same skillet, add all the ingredients for the sauce and whisk until incorporated. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and let simmer 5 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened considerably and coats the back of a spoon. Return the shredded chicken to the skillet and stir until the chicken is coated in the sauce. Let cook for 2 minutes then remove to a bowl to cool.
  5. When ready to assemble, lightly grease a shallow frying pan/baking tray/Pyrex dish or whatever takes your fancy. I’ve tried this with all three and I’ve found that a frying pan works best for presentation. Preheat your broiler/grill.
  6. Layer the bottom with potatoes followed by the chicken and top with the grated cheese. Place the frying pan under the broiler/grill and bake for 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted. If you’d like your cheese to be browned (shoutout I see you) then broil for closer to 10 minutes. Top with the fresh parsley and enjoy!


 

 

 

The Perfect Fry

Fried foods are good foods.

Would you believe me if I told you I have spent the year of 2016 thus far developing a recipe for the perfect French fries? No, because that’s crazy (and a s***ton of fries). But here on this blog, we believe that fries are the one thing that cannot be done wrong. Never.

Fun fact about me: I rate restaurants based on how amazing their fries are. No joke. I honestly think that French fries are a staple, like scrambled eggs or pasta sauce, that everybody needs to know how to make. Luckily enough for you my friends, I’ve got a guide to show you just how to achieve the perfect fry. And just like everything else on this blog, we’re going to use science to show us the truth, the light and the way.

french fry

The first thing you need to know is that the best fries are fried twice. Yep, you heard me, TWICE. Now, we all know that the best fries are crispy on the outside, yet soft on the inside. Anybody who has ever visited McDonald’s can testify to this fact. So just how do we go about achieving this?

Step 1: Cutting the potatoes to the right size

You may laugh, you may think this trivial and unimportant, but then again, I can guarantee that you have tried to fry a big fat chunky potato wedge, haven’t you? If I’m lying, then please feel free to gloat about it in the comment section. The truth is that we have all been on either side of the chip size spectrum. We’ve all cut our potatoes so anorexically thin that they crisp up as soon as they hit the oil and eating them is like biting into twigs. We have also managed to bludgeon the potatoes into big ugly chunks that just come out soft and undercooked and bleh. So how exactly does one achieve the balance? My best piece of advice would be to buy a vegetable cutter that juliennes the potatoes into perfectly sized matchsticks. Or, if you’re a jobless broke teenager like me, then you use a CLEAN afro comb to carefully slice your potatoes to perfection.

 slicing with afro comb

Start by slicing your potato in half down the longer side. Then insert the afro comb at a ≅80°  angle to the chopping board. After that, you just have to slide your chef’s knife in between the uniformly divided rungs of the afro comb and you’re one step closer to the perfect fries.

Step 2: Pre-frying Preparation

One thing that I know everybody does is to immediately soak their potatoes in water before cooking. If you do this, then congratulations you’re on the right track! If you don’t, then please start doing it. Here’s the twist: you’re going to salt the water very heavily. The common belief is that we are soaking the potatoes in water from them in order for them to absorb the water by osmosis and become more plump.

For anyone who’s forgotten their Form 4 Biology: osmosis is defined as the movement of water molecules from an area of  high concentration (the water in the bowl) to an area of low concentration (the potato) through a partially permeable membrane (think of the potato as an upstreet nightclub. The partially permeable membrane is the tough bouncer who decides which well dressed molecules get to go in).

osmosis
How we all wish osmosis worked
But salting the water heavily reduces the water concentration, so water would be tempted to move out of the potato….. Andrea, WHY WOULD WE DO THAT? I’ll tell you why, a crisp French fry is crisp because of its lack of water. If the potato remained turgid (full of water) when we were done cooking it, then the potato would be soggy and soft and bleh. So we add lots of salt, to encourage water to leave the potato so that we can get crisp fries in the end. Yay!

To heighten this effect, I add vinegar to this soaking mixture, and I also love the subtle taste of vinegar that you get after frying. What I would discourage you to do is to boil the potatoes before cooking. The high heat forces the outer membranes to break down, and this would encourage the movement of water molecules into the potato. Which is why potatoes are soft and squishy when you boil them. Save the boiling for when we decide to make mashed potatoes.

Step 3: The First Fry

Yes, I said the first fry, for any of you who still thought that cooking fries twice was a joke.


Shown above is a picture of what potatoes look like during the first fry. Notice all those bubbles? That, my friends, is water escaping the potatoes and evaporating instantly. Woohoo, that’s exactly what we want! Now this is where it gets complicated: the water that leaves the potato is replaced by hot oil that invades the potato and makes friends with the water molecules that didn’t exit the potato’s membrane. Although oil is hydrophobic, (hates water with a passion)  by some miraculous action, the oil and the water for a superglue, and this strengthens the potato structure.

So what we do is to fry the potato for the first time at the low temperature of 160°C/325°F for about 6 minutes, which is when the potatoes are just starting to turn light brown, but still remain mostly white. After this, I like to quickly dry them on paper towels and refrigerate the potatoes for about 10 minutes whilst I raise the temperature to 200°C/400°F.


 Step 4: The Second Fry

So the goal of our first fry was to drive water out and form the superglue that strengthens the potato structure. The purpose of the second fry is to drive any leftover water out and crisp up the strengthened structure to create the beautiful crisp outside that we know and love so much.


Oh glorious French fry, how I adore thee.

Step 5: Toppings and Sauces

Salt. This is an absolute necessity. If you were trying to be healthy, you passed that a long time ago when you decided to deep fry your potatoes. This post isn’t about healthy eats. My favourite things to add to my fries are paprika, mixed herbs, lemon salt, sweet chilli sauce and occasionally BBQ sauce. Little known fact about me, I can’t stand tomato sauce. When I was little, I put it on just about EVERYTHING. Even sadza. I suggest that you never attempt to put T sauce on sadza because you will regret it forever. If you’re a fan of T sauce then go ahead and pour it to your heart’s delight. I won’t say anything (out loud).

french fries

My final piece of advice would be to eat the fries whilst they’re still gloriously hot because reheated French fries are an abomination. Happy Frying y’all!

The Perfect French Fries

Ingredients 

3 Russet potatoes, peeled and washed

About 4 cups water

1 cup white vinegar (optional)

5 tbsp salt

6 cups vegetable/canola oil- Do not use oil that has a low smoke point such as olive oil

Probably all the paper towels in your household

Method

  1. Start by julienning the potatoes. This is a fancy word for cutting the potatoes into a matchstick shape. My ideal fry size is 1/4 inch thick and 4 inches long. But you can cut yours to your liking, all I would advise you to do is to not get them thicker than 1/2 inch or they may not cook all the way through.
  2. Fill a large bowl with the water and white vinegar. Add the salt and stir until dissolved. Soak the cut potatoes in the salt water for about 10 minutes whilst you heat the oil in a deep saucepan/deep fryer to 160°C/325°F.
  3. Drain the potatoes and dry them on the paper towels before frying them in the oil at low heat, for 6 minutes or until they just start to change colour. Remove the fries from the heat and drain on paper towels on a large baking sheet. Refrigerate the potatoes for 10 minutes, whilst you raise the temperature of the oil to 200°C/400°F.
  4. Fry the potatoes at the higher temperature for 5 minutes, or until deep golden brown. Drain on paper towels and season immediately with salt. Serve immediately with sauces/seasonings of your choice and enjoy!

 

 

And now, a bunch of memes that perfectly describe my relationship with French fries

sad frog friesmcdonalds friesmore fries

heavy breathing fries