advice Student Life Vacations

Simple Student: Crispy Roast Potatoes

It’s cold out here chickpeas! And that means oven-roasts and low-slow cooking…And what is a warm winter without some potatoes?! I mean I didn’t even need to write an introduction – I could’ve just written the word “potato” and it would’ve been enough. Okay enough-‘ve words and more crispy, fluffly, steamy, warm, toasty-roasty, absolutely delicious POTATOES! Do you love potatoes this much, or is it just me while recovering from my third mug of dark coffee?

Yes, those are my short fat fingers. Also – POTATO!

I first came across this recipe on the Food and Home website and when I made it for my fams – I. Was. In. Heaven. Potato Heaven! And it brings us to the new venture of: Cooking for Others. Yes, my chickpeas it’s hosting time. And if all your other dishes fail, then at least you have potatoes…and who can be mad at you for that?

That’s right – no one.

Honestly, someone is going to equate this potato passion to that of Sasha Braus and to be honest I am okay being called Potato Girl.

Now, you may not be a fan of rosemary. Or perhaps garlic gives you the Four Winds. It doesn’t matter – you can switch and swap various flavour combos to suit your palate. But the basis for creating the perfect roast potato remains the same. The steps of boiling, salting, drying and tossing are all important steps. So regardless of whether you sprinkle them with kosher salt or include spices to set your face ablaze, the prep work done beforehand is the Old Testament of this recipe.

Besides total deliciousness – this recipe is simple to prepare, affordable and can be whacked in the oven and forgotten about for an hour. So while you’re making yourself look pretty for your guests, your potatoes can sing and sizzle in the oven!

Cut into cubes to shorten cooking time!

When you boil your potatoes, make sure that the water is cold. Add the potatoes to the cold water in the pot, then turn the heat on. This will allow for the potatoes to cook evenly through, resulting in awesome fluffiness in the centre.

Don’t have an oven or money to pay for electricity for the oven? No problem! You can fry these guys up on a gas stove in a pan of hot oil.

Now I know the METHOD seems like it’s gonna take forever – trust me it won’t! I just like to be extra detailed and include every possible scenario to ensure that you guys create something magical for your fams and yourselves!

Look..

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 Potatoes (but tbh, however many your heart desires)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1tsp Baking powder
  • 5 cups of water
  • Spices and herbs of your choice

METHOD

  • Wash, peel and quarter your potatoes.
  • Put them in a pot and add the water to the pot. The water level needs to be about and inch about the potatoes. Add more water if necessary.
  • Add 5 tablespoons of salt.
  • Turn on the stove and put your pot on a high flame – bringing the water to a boil.
  • Put the lid on the pot to trap heat and speed up the boiling process.
  • Once it boils over once, turn the heat down to a medium flame and let it cook for 6-7 minutes. Set a timer on your phone (boil your potatoes for a total of 10 minutes)!
  • Set your oven to 200 C or see “FRYING OPTION”
  • Prepare a baking tray/sheet.
  • Place 2tbs of oil on the tray. (I added small cubes of butter for super crunchy edges)
  • Test the doneness by poking a fork through one potato cube. If it glides in smoothly, turn off the stove and drain. If still hard in the centre, let it boil for 1-2 minutes.
  • Transfer drained potatoes back into the pot and add baking powder. NOT BAKING SODA.
  • Put the lid on the pot and using your thumbs to hold the lid down, shake the potatoes around in the pot. This will break them into smaller pieces and rough them up for crispier edges. Give them two hard shakes. Not more than two or less than two!
  • Transfer poatatoes onto baking sheet/tray.
  • Toss them around and make sure to coat them in that oil.
  • Scatter spices and herbs and toss. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Put in oven for 45mins-hour. Turn them around at the halfway mark.
  • Taken them out and let cool for 5 minutes.
  • Serve as a side dish or as a spectacularly simple main!
  • Enjoy 🙂

Spice and herb suggestions

  • lemon and rosemary and garlic
  • garlic and chilli
  • cumin and paprika
  • thyme and butter
  • onion and cheese and mushrooms
  • mustard and bay leaf and curry powder (fry these in the sheet pan first)

FRYING OPTION

  • Test the doneness by poking a fork through one potato cube. If it glides in smoothly, turn off the stove and drain. If still hard in the centre, let it boil for 1-2 minutes.
  • Transfer your potatoes to a colander or seperate bowl and add 1tsp of baking powder. Yes it will fizzle – that’s totally normal.
  • Toss to make sure potatoes are well coated and that some cubes have been broken. This adds to the crispiness.
  • Heat 3 cups of vegetable oil on the stove in a dry and clean pot.
  • Heat on med-high heat.
  • To see if the oil is ready, you can use a kitchen thermometer (162°C) or put a wooden spoon or skewer in. If lots of bubbles form around it, you’re ready to go!
  • Add your potatoes and fry in small batches of 6 cubes.
  • Fry for about 5 minutes. Or until golden in colour and floating around in the oil.
  • Make sure to turn the heat down if things get too crazy or turn it up if it takes longer than 5 minutes to fry.
  • Remove from oil into a colander lined with paper towel or some of those takeout napkins.
  • Sprinkle them with salt as soon as they come out.
  • Wait for them to cool down…
  • Serve…
  • And enjoy!

If you make this please share your end results with on Instagram: @girlonthebus_za ! And leave a comment on what cooking favourites you’d like me to simplify for you.

Til next time chickpeas!

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