Monday, 18 June 2018

What's the easiest way to cook potatoes?

Some might argue that the easiest way to cook potatoes is to steam or boil them.  I agree...but who wants to eat bland potatoes? >.<  So, for me, the easiest way to cook potatoes, that come out absolutely tasty, is to bake or roast them in the oven.

I have posted a blog post before on how I bake Jamie Oliver-style potatoes (which I learned from Jamie Oliver obviously).  I would blanch them in boiling water first (to soften) and toss them around in the pan to fluff the edges of the potatoes, that way they'd crisp up nicely when baked (as Jamie would say).

But that means I still had to take an extra step (of blanching) to cook the, that's not the easiest way, is it?  The easiest way, by my definition, is to just chuck the potatoes into the oven and have them finished cooking by the time my protein (usually chicken) cooks (which is 30 minutes at 200°C).  Well, I tried that before.  I cut them into rough chunks and threw them into the oven but the potatoes didn't turn out soft enough by the time the chicken leg was ready.

One day, when I was buying cooked potatoes wedges from the supermarket, it dawned on me that I had cut them wrongly.  Cutting them into chunks meant they were too thick and won't soften in time.  I needed to cut them into thin wedges.  Now why didn't I think of that sooner? ;)

So, the key is to buy smaller potatoes!  Cut the potatoes lengthwise into half (this will give rise to thinner wedges) and cut each half into 3 or 4 wedges.

Season the potatoes wedges with salt, freshly cracked black pepper and smoked paprika.  Sprinkle with dried parsley (if desired) and add a good glug of olive oil.  Mix evenly.  The smoked paprika gives it a subtle hint of spice but if you need more heat, add an additional sprinkling of cayenne pepper.  And all these seasoning bottles should be readily available in the pantry of someone who cooks.

Spread your wedges in a single layer over a sheet pan lined with baking paper.  Bake at 200°C for 30 minutes.

Mix the wedges around to get a more even charring.  They'll come out looking nicely charred and just soft enough with a slight crisp around the edges.

Now, isn't that the easiest way to cook potatoes? ;)  One that yields delicious potatoes at the same time.  No more doing an extra step to blanch the potatoes (sorry, Jamie, I'm always trying to find the easy way out) and having another pan to wash up.  In fact, you don't even have to wash the sheet pan.  Just discard the used baking paper.

More importantly, if you serve roasted potatoes as a side, they'll finish cooking at the same time as (say) your roast chicken.  If you like your wedges to have crispier edges, cook them in a separate tray from your chicken.

But if you're feeling a little lazy at times (we all go through such 'spells'), then you can make a great one tray meal by chucking in the chicken, potatoes and whatever vegetables of your choice into one tray.  However, do note that if done this way, the juices from the chicken tend to flow into your potatoes rendering them not as crisp.  But hey, I don't mind that at all since I got away with cooking something the easy way.

Baked potatoes are always welcome as a side dish to any main :)

Ever since this method proved so successful, I've been making potatoes this way frequently...not only as a side dish but as a snack to munch on when hunger strikes at odd hours.  Hey, they still make a much health-ier snack than (say) Pringles or Mister Potato Crisps! :P

And what's better than tasty baked potato wedges?  Tasty baked potato wedges with a mayo dip...that's a little bit spicy and a little bit garlicky (which I saw from an episode of Patricia Heaton Parties, whose best known for her role on "Everybody Loves Raymond").

To make the dip, I fry one clove of minced garlic in 1/2 tbsp of olive oil.  Just warm the garlic through, do not brown.  Add in 1/2 tsp of smoked paprika.  Add that to 2 tbsp of (store-bought) mayo, stir to combine....and voila, the dip is done.

This easy-to-assemble spiced dip goes really well with potato wedges, fries or just about any fried snacks.  A little bit more work to make the dip but so worth the effort.  You can make a bigger portion of the dip if you have a lot of potato wedges to go through....haha! ;D

I've always thought that the potatoes I buy are local potatoes since they're the most common type sold in wet markets.  I never knew what they're called, I just call them potatoes (though I'm aware of some of the names of imported ones like Yukon Gold, Russet or Chat potatoes).

One day, while shopping at Aeon, I finally took note of the product tag...and realised that they're actually called Holland potatoes!  But if you look closely at the tag, Holland potatoes are not from Holland....they're from!

Anyway, irrespective of where they're from or what type they're, try this method of baking the potatoes.....and you'll forever realise (like I have) that you've found the easiest way to not only cook potatoes....but cook utterly tasty ones at that! ^o^


  1. Wow, seem like I read this post at the perfect timing as I'm going have roast chicken and vegetables for tonight's dinner! I'm going to try your potato wedges cutting method and see how's it works!

    1. Well, did it work for you? ;) Roast chicken potatoes and vegetables...perfect one tray meal :)

    2. Since I mixed the potato wedges with other veggies in a tray when baking, so they couldn't have that nice crispy edges :(

    3. Yeah, if done this way, you need to sacrifice a bit on the crispness...but I hope you achieved the desired softness in your potatoes.

  2. Your roasted potato wedges I cannot resist! If I did not care so much about my weight, I would have them everyday. I have been roasting sweet potatoes lately and it's time I take a break and roast me some potatoes. I've got to try that mayo dip. It looks and sounds delicious.

    1. Easy dip to make, hope you like it :) Hmmm, wouldn't roasted sweet potatoes mean we'll put on more weight than regular potatoes? Coz of the sugar content...hahaha! :D

  3. I am definitely learning something new again from this post. I think all the Holland Potatoes sold in Klang Valley arrives in big containers to a logistic warehouse behind my working place. I saw the labels of "Holland Potatoes" and could not understand the reason they were so much cheaper than those from China and US. It was a little shock to hear it was planted in Pakistan. LOLOL

    Next, I always tried to cut my potato fries into thick cubes like how some fancy restaurants served. Mine was always half cooked and I thought I had to boil or blanch them a bit before frying. Now I will cut them thinner will do! Ha ha!

    1. I read somewhere that in China, they're called Holland potatoes too coz they first arrived in China (in the 1600s) from the Netherlands. So, Holland potatoes can also be planted in China, just that these ones were from! :D


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