Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Goan Fried Potatoes

It's amazing how one's culinary culture blinds one to perfectly obvious uses of perfectly common ingredients. I've had shooji (sooji, semolina) in our kitchen all my life, and never before have I thought of using it to coat deep-fried things. Astonishingly stupid, right? If I'd only thought for a minute, I'd see how shooji would absorb less oil than breadcrumbs or ground arrowroot biscuits (crackers, to you lot across the Atlantic), and make a delicious crunchy shell for the tender, moist potato within. But, like I said, having our own coating-agent at hand, I never even looked for alternatives. Even when I complained about breadcrumbs absorbing to much oil.

Actually, that's not true. I did consider corn flakes once (which also absorb too much oil, btw). But then, considering how even our mundane daily choices are influenced by our constant consumption of western cultural norms, I don't really consider considering corn flakes a broadening of my culinary horizons. I'm actually surprised I've stuck to grinding salty biscuits or crisply-toasted stale bread for this long, instead of buying vitamin-enriched oregano-flavoured breadcrumbs from the fancy supermarkets. I definitely missed the bus on being an empowered global consumer taking advantage of an expanded spectrum of choices.

Anyway, this is how you make wonderfully delicious, and beautifully textured fried potatoes, Goan-style.

First, peel and slice a few potatoes in roundels about 1/3rd a cm thick. Slicing them thicker would leave the centres hard and uncooked, or the edges charred. Then marinate them in lime juice/vinegar, salt, garlic powder if you fancy it, and red chilli powder, if you can stand it. Let it stand for ten minutes, at least. I don't know if this actually helps the flavour seep in deeper, but I stab the potato slices with a fork before marinating them.

 Then place each slice on a bed of semolina, coating each side. Shake off the extra semolina.

Slices after coating.

 It's a flower!

Now put them on a skillet, and pour a quarter teaspoon of oil around each slice. You'll need to add more when you flip sides. Sometimes, if you flip carelessly, the semolina coating will come off. To wit, potato slice in the middle. Let each side stand on a middle-low flame for about ten minutes. The potato will take time to cook, and the semolina will take time to toast.

Finally, as an award to yourself for the excruciatingly hard labour required by this complex recipe, pour the potato-marinade in the remaining semolina. Then take a few inch-thick slices of room-temp sharp cheddar (or hard cheese of your choice), coat them in the crunchy, tangy, spicy batter, and fry them on the now-well-greased skillet. Keep them on the flame for a little less than three minutes, for fear of the delicious melted cheese oozing out and drawing patterns on your skillet.


Dea-chan said...

nom nom nom! also, aren't you supposed to be states-side by now?

Sue said...

Very nice. I even have suji at home. Thanks. :)

Daisy said...

Aloo. Coated. Fried. Sigh.

And then cheese.

That's greed, lust, desire and, in a very roundabout way, hunger coming together in one ethereal dance of tastebuds.