Potatoes Big, Potatoes Small, We Love Them All

Authors: Go Chengdu


Ordinary and inexpensive, potatoes are widely used in most cuisines with a variety of cooking methods across the world.

Mashed Potato Ball (Chinese Cooking)

Here is a self-made recipe by Chef Gao Wenjun from Sofitel Chengdu Taihe Hotel, who uses potatoes as the raw material in a dish called “Royal Pearls”.

What you need:

Sichuan-style sauced pork, 50g
Pickled vegetable, 20g
Potatoes, 400g
Green and red chili, 15g
Salt, 0.5g
Chicken powder, 10g
Cornstarch, 10g
Cooking oil, 500g
Mineral water

Potatoes cleaned and cut into halves, sliced thin, steamed for 30 minutes, then mashed.
Mix the diced sauced pork with potato mash, mineral water and corn starch to make the ingredients the size of a table tennis. Pour oil in the frying pan and heat it to 160 degrees Celsius. Fry the prepared “table tennis” balls till they turn golden. Drain and plate.
Put green peppers into the frying pan; quick stir in oil till you get the aroma; add salt; thicken with mixture of cornstarch and mineral water; top the golden balls with the mixture.

Potato Gratin (Western cooking, adapted by Kimberly Dallas)

Gratin Dauphinois, or Potato Gratin in English, is a wonderfully rich dish to accompany any main dish, especially hearty stews. I had the pleasure of learning how to make this dish from a fellow French expatriate who used to live in Chengdu.

What you need:
Potatoes, 1kg
Whipping cream, 1 liter (I prefer Anchor brand from New Zealand, but Europeans tend to like the slightly sweetened Nestle brand)
Several cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius. Peel your potatoes, cut them into halves, and slice thinly. I always soak the potatoes in water for an hour or longer to take out some of the starch. I have found potatoes in China are much starchier than in other parts of the world. Soaking helps take out the starch and is better when cooking the potatoes in Western recipes.
Put a layer of cream in the pan, then add garlic and some potatoes, add another layer of cream and repeat until your ingredients are all in the pan. Turn the oven down to 140 degrees celsius and cook your potatoes until they are soft and you can easily cut with a knife. It should take between 2 hours and 2 hours and a half.

Kimberly Dallas, from the US, is a long-time resident of Chengdu and was the cheesecake baker of Mike's Pizza Kitchen and once a member of CIWC (Chengdu International Women's Club ).

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