You know how it is with potatoes…you take them for granted. They don’t go bad quickly, so you forget how many you actually have at any given point in time. You expect to always have a couple lying around. But then, when you need them, they come out looking all shriveled-up and knobby. And you feel sad for giving them the older-child-treatment while you were fussing over the perishables in your fridge. And you do this despite a potato never-failing to satisfy your midnight-cravings for starchy food and despite its ability to turn into a quick side-dish that many friends actually end up liking more than the main-dish.
By ‘you’, I mean ‘I’.
So, it was while thinking these thoughts that I decided to move my potatoes from their usual spot inside a deep, yellow jute basket. Along with their other equally hardy but slightly less neglected siblings, onions and garlic, they now occupy a more easily visible place on the kitchen counter. From a storage point of view, it is definitely better to keep them in cool, dark and humid places, but since out-of-sight usually means out-of-mind for me, this is better.
Having spent so much time obsessing over them, I decided to make something with potatoes. I tend to always have a lot of zucchini or courgettes in my fridge. So, these pancakes seemed like a good idea. Of course, there is nothing sacrosanct about this particular combination of vegetables. You can choose to use only one of them or add e.g. carrots, peas and green beans. Potato pancakes are quite common in many countries and I could have, as easily, called them latkes, draniki, gamjajeon, placki ziemniaczane or kartoffelpuffer. Most of these variants contain egg, but my recipe is egg-less. Feel free to add egg, but then you might need to add a little more flour to the batter to get the required consistency.
- Russet Potato, 1 large
- Zucchini, 1 medium
- Red onion, 1/2 small
- All-purpose flour, 3-4 table spoons
- Baking powder, a pinch (seriously! it’ll get bitter otherwise)
- Red chilli paste, to taste (I used sambal)
- Yogurt, 2-3 tablespoons
- Salt, to taste
- Black pepper, to taste
- Butter/oil for frying
- Peel the potato and grate it with zucchini and onion.
- Combine all ingredients (except oil/butter) to form a batter. You don’t want the mixture to be too thick or too runny. It should be like a pancake batter. Also, the more you let the mixture sit, the runnier it will get because the vegetables will lose water with time. So, adjust the quantity of flour and yogurt accordingly. As I mentioned earlier, if you are adding egg, you’ll need more flour. If your yogurt is not sour, you can also add a little lemon juice. Even soy sauce, mint, coriander, cumin powder would be good in here. I think you get the point :-).
- Heat a little oil/butter/ghee in a heavy-bottomed skillet and fry them till crispy and golden brown on both sides.
- Eat with tomato ketchup or sour cream. This recipe will make 10-15 small pancakes. Happy eating!