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Too many potatoes 土豆泥煎饼 (Mashed potato pancakes)

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abcdefg    2,375
abcdefg

I bought too many potatoes last week and now I'm struggling to use them up in creative ways. For the last couple days I've been fiddling around with mashed potato pancakes as one option. These aren't particularly Chinese, but they do exist here as 土豆泥煎饼。I guess you could call it a "Made in China" recipe.  Let me show you how they came out tonight.

 

When I got these potatoes home from the wet market, my 阿姨 was in the middle of her weekly cleaning 打扫卫生。She loves to critique my purchases, and pointed out that some of the potatoes had flaws. Also asked that most Chinese of all questions, "多少钱?" (How much did it cost?") I told her 2 Yuan per kilogram and small change. She was aghast. "I never pay more than 1.9 at this time of year. 他们骗你了。“ (Translation: "You were robbed.")

 

Un-deterred, I've been using them up. And they have proven to be a versatile meal component. Scrub, peel them and cut as shown. Boil for 20 to 30 minutes. Mash them coarsely while warm with the back of a spoon. You want to wind up with about a cup and a half, or one heaping "rice-bowl" 饭碗 unit of measure, for those in the know.

 

(By the way, you can left click the photos to make them enlarge.)

 

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I had some leftover beef steak from yesterday which I sliced very thin and then cut fine. Wanted about a third as much by volume as the potatoes. Minced a section of mild and sweet Bermuda onion 洋葱。 Wanted a quarter to a third the volume of the mashed potatoes. These ratios are not ironclad, but you are better off not using too many "extras" or else the cakes will fall apart. Minced a large clove of garlic 大蒜 and collected the seeds of three large dried chili peppers 干辣椒。

 

On other days I've made this with spring onion 葱 instead of the Bermuda onion, and that works well too. Similarly, I don't always have left over steak in the fridge, and have used crumbled bacon 腊肉 or slivers of Yunnan cured ham 云南火腿丝 instead. I've also sometimes sauteed the onions and garlic before mixing them in.

 

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Mix these finely-cut items into the mashed potatoes. Add a large tablespoon of all purpose flour and one beaten egg. Dash of salt. This makes a stiff batter, not a thin runny one.

 

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My pan is a non-stick ceramic coated wonder with a flat bottom. Heavy and a pleasure to use. Recent addition to my kitchen arsenal. Heat it to medium and add some olive oil. (This isn't like a stir-fry where high heat breaks down olive oil and makes it just burn and smoke.) Drop three or four large spoonfuls of batter into the skillet and flatten them out. Don't make them too thin, or they will dry out. Mine are between 2 and 3 centimeters thick. Use a lid on the pan for most of side one.

 

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After 2 or 3 minutes, flip them and add butter to the pan. Turn the fire to low. Shake the potato cakes around so they soak it up. Top each cake with a thin slice of cheddar cheese. Give it another minute or two, then peek at the underside, and if browned, take them out.

 

Being blessed with a surfeit of ripe late-season tomatoes, I made some as an accompaniment to the steak and potato pancakes. Sliced them thick and sprinkled with coarse sea salt. Cooked them quickly in the already-hot pan.

 

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Wound up with a pretty nice meal. I'm a little embarrassed to present it to you because, even though it was tasty, it totally lacks elegance. It is, however, true to the essence of "family style" cooking 家常菜: Great for you and me although not terribly suitable for guests.  The potatoes were crispy on the outside, but tender and moist inside. The melted cheese gave them an added (decadent) dimension.

 

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If you have surplus potatoes and a little spare time, you might want to give it a try. It's honest and unpretentious food that sticks to your ribs. Puts a smile on your face and goes well with red wine.

 

 

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somethingfunny    363
somethingfunny

That knife...

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abcdefg    2,375
abcdefg

That Hong Kong knife remains the star of my kitchen. Always sharp and well balanced. Cuts with style, panache and true heroism.

 

 

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Alex_Hart    143
Alex_Hart

Looks delicious, would be perfect with an ice cold beer on a balcony in Kunming. I would add "on a summer day," but it would be fitting year-round there (can you sense the jealousy). Haven't seen someone use a steak in something like this, could add some apple sauce on the side for some good ol' fashioned European potato pancakes (I forget if it's the Polish platskis or the German potato pancakes that they serve with the apple sauce). My mom used to give them to me when I was a kid all the time. 

 

Recently had a yummy dish that made me think of your predicament of too many potatoes - something I can understand as I almost always have too many potatoes. Local 兰州拉面 place has 饼 they serve stuffed with 羊肉, but as they know me they'll do the same 饼 (I'm not sure of the name, it's light and fluffy, not the hard one they also have, I've had it several times in Xinjiang places) with cumin stir fried potato. Most places around here will sell you the bing's plain. You can then stir fry your potato in a large amount of cumin and roll it into the bing.

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abcdefg    2,375
abcdefg

You're right, @Alex_Hart -- Those potato pancakes could just as well have been Eastern European. Applesauce and sour cream on the side.

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Shelley    1,139
Shelley

Once again you have shared a wonderful recipe idea and inspired eaters everywhere:P

 

It actually made me think of something I do with potatoes and as we happened to be having it today it occurred to me not too late in the process to take some pictures and share.

 

It is something I call Twice Baked Spuds.

 

I usually do this as the weather cools as you need to bake spuds in the oven for a couple of hours, so not much fun on a hot day. I use medium sized potatoes, usually ones intended for baking but any good sized ordinary potato will do. I don't use huge ones cos they too long to bake and can get a bit tough.

 

I always do more than I can eat in one meal (for one reason to have them for 2 meals and also because you never know if you have a bad baked potato until you open it) and have the second half the next day heated up in the oven hence twice baked. They are also baked twice the first time you have them.

 

So chose some potatoes, clean and wash them, put them on a baking tray, put a small slit in the top to let the air escape so as not to have exploding spud bombs, makes a terrible mess.

Once baked, about 2 hours, depends on the spuds and your oven, (test with a sharp knife)  take them out of the oven and let cool for 5 minutes or so not much more.

 

Get a large bowl and a chopping board and suitable knife, slice each potato in half, once all of them are halved, start scooping out the potato in to the bowl. You will then end up with empty shells and bowl of potato.

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Mash the potato quite well, it doesn't need or want to be too smooth, as it is baked potato the unmashed bits are cooked and so are not hard just a nice texture.

At this point you can add cheese, chopped spring onions (scallions), ham or indeed anything you think might do well in a potato. I like to just add grated cheddar cheese, fairly mature for taste. Mix well and proceed to stuff the potato shells with the mixture. Once you have roughly filled them all, take each one in your hand and firm down the spud mixture so it becomes well filled, at this point you make have to adjust which ones are over filled with those that need more. Once you have finished you should end up with well filled shells ready for a topping.

 

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I grate some more cheese and top the ones I am going to eat today leaving the other half untopped ready to store for tomorrow. Once topped i put them under the grill to brown the cheese and reheat the potato, which doesn't need much because they are not that cold.

 

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Once covered the extra ones go in the fridge ready to eat tomorrow. Just grate some fresh cheese on the top and pop in the oven for 30 minutes or until hot and brown.

 

After a few minutes under the grill the spuds come out brown and bubbly, serve on a warm plate with baked beans, ham and more grated cheese on the beans. there you have a wonderful winter warmer - Twice Baked spuds.

 

BakedSpuds9.thumb.jpg.46874dd1093b6e6ff2d874a063263ee8.jpg

 

 

 

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abcdefg    2,375
abcdefg

Those look really good, @Shelley. Wish I could make them, but kitchens very rarely have ovens in China. Small free-standing counter-top ovens are available, but kitchens here also don't have much counter space. So this recipe will have to go into my "Try it back in Texas" file.

 

Quote

So chose some potatoes, clean and wash them, put them on a baking tray, put a small slit in the top to let the air escape so as not to have exploding spud bombs, makes a terrible mess.

 

Help, my kitchen is under attack! Haha!

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Mindmaxd    15
Mindmaxd
On 2017/9/10 at 3:16 PM, Alex_Hart said:

Looks delicious, would be perfect with an ice cold beer on a balcony in Kunming. I would add "on a summer day," but it would be fitting year-round there (can you sense the jealousy). Haven't seen someone use a steak in something like this, could add some apple sauce on the side for some good ol' fashioned European potato pancakes (I forget if it's the Polish platskis or the German potato pancakes that they serve with the apple sauce). My mom used to give them to me when I was a kid all the time. 

 

Recently had a yummy dish that made me think of your predicament of too many potatoes - something I can understand as I almost always have too many potatoes. Local 兰州拉面 place has 饼 they serve stuffed with 羊肉, but as they know me they'll do the same 饼 (I'm not sure of the name, it's light and fluffy, not the hard one they also have, I've had it several times in Xinjiang places) with cumin stir fried potato. Most places around here will sell you the bing's plain. You can then stir fry your potato in a large amount of cumin and roll it into the bing.

That kind of bing called 馕 nang2,It is very good to have with 羊肉串:D

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Mindmaxd    15
Mindmaxd
7 hours ago, abcdefg said:

Those look really good, @Shelley. Wish I could make them, but kitchens very rarely have ovens in China. Small free-standing counter-top ovens are available, but kitchens here also don't have much counter space. So this recipe will have to go into my "Try it back in Texas" file.

 

 

Help, my kitchen is under attack! Haha!

On my way sir,our clone potato army is coming soon!! HOLD ON!!

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Shelley    1,139
Shelley

You can bake spuds in a microwave, I have never done it but I hear it is quick and effective.

 

One thing though there is much more of a chance of exploding spud bombs in the microwave so you will have to send for reinforcements!!:shock:

 

I keep forgetting that ovens are not common in chinese kitchens, I wonder why? I am thinking that long slow cooking is expensive on fuel and from a country famous for fast wok cooking it is a complete opposite. Is this changing? Do modern chinese kitchens have western style cookers - ranges or stoves?

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abcdefg    2,375
abcdefg
23 hours ago, Shelley said:

Do modern chinese kitchens have western style cookers - ranges or stoves?

 

I"m not sure, Shelley. None of my friends, even those who are affluent and live in recently-built high rises have western-style stoves with ovens. I've seen them for sale in kitchen stores as custom installations. Home baking is not popular, though some people do it with improvised set ups, such as counter-top bread machines and counter top electric ovens.

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Shelley    1,139
Shelley

I suppose as you say cakes and bread etc. are not part of the chinese cuisine. Do shops sell bread and cakes etc.?

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889    576
889

"Do shops sell bread and cakes etc.?"

 

Of course. Plenty of chain bakery outlets, plus the Wal-Marts, Carrefours and such have in-store bakeries. But it's all made to Chinese taste. Be sure to ask whether that's sugar or salt on a bread twist!

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Shelley    1,139
Shelley

I see, has it always been like that? Oven goods done from a bakery or other similar to sell in shops?

 

I am just trying to work out if bread and especially sweet cakes are part of the cuisine.

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Alex_Hart    143
Alex_Hart

I think they're imported and relatively recent, Shelley. Some of my younger Chinese friends now have counter top ovens (as do I), and most of them bought them to try and make the ubiquitous egg tarts, which were inspired by the Portuguese version, or salty egg tarts. Bakeries are everywhere, but it's definitely a younger clientele who tends to go in. Most are distinctively Chinese in their flavor profile and ingredients, for example 肉松 (meat floss) is very popular and durian is pretty common. 

 

I've seen three or four built in ovens (the kind we have in the west) here, all in apartments built within the last 3-4 years and aimed at a wealthier class. I was quite excited when I saw two of them and asked the owners what they used them to make; neither had any idea how to use an oven and didn't know what they could possibly make in it besides egg tarts and cake. Both were using them as dish racks. My girlfriend says it's a 面子 thing in her hometown (where I saw these ovens). I actually had friends back in the US who had ovens/dish washers and the Chinese parents also used them simply to hold dishes, claiming a dish washer couldn't possibly wash a dish well enough. 

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