Masala Potato Pancake
An aromatic mix of precious spices harvested in India are the motivation behind this dish, and the humble potato is simply the vehicle. Taking a cue from the classic masala dosa—a spiced potato filling tucked into a crispy crepe—this twist uses shredded spuds to form a potato pancake and is fried over gentle heat to achieve a golden-brown crust with a luscious, creamy interior. It’s similar to what the Swiss would call a rösti and others a giant latke or large hash brown. Whatever you decide to call it—rösti, potato pancake, latke—the masala mixture is at the heart.
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- 1.5 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes (2 large or 4 medium)
- ½ red onion, chopped
- 2-inch piece of ginger, skin removed, grated
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- 1 tbsp. ghee (or butter)
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- ½ tsp. ground turmeric
- ½ tsp. cumin seeds
- ¼ tsp. mustard seeds
- ¼ tsp. red chili powder
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- In a small non-stick skillet, heat the ghee over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until softened but not browned, for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add a pinch of salt, grated ginger, and garlic to onions and let sit on top of onions for 30 seconds, stir, and then add in all of the spices—cumin, turmeric, mustard seeds, and red chili powder. Sauté for a minute longer, remove from heat, and let cool slightly.
- Peel and grate the potatoes, then squeeze out excess water with a dish towel. Add spiced onion mixture to the potatoes and mix well.
- Heat reserved skillet over medium-low heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Scrape potato mixture into hot skillet, pressing with a spoon or spatula into an even layer. Tent with foil, and cook for 10 minutes, rotating skillet frequently to avoid hot spots. Remove foil, and cook until bottom is golden brown and crispy, for about 5 minutes longer. Run a silicone spatula around sides and underneath the potato. Invert a plate over skillet. Using oven mitts, carefully flip onto a plate.
- Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in the skillet. Slide potato back in, browned side up. Tent with foil, and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover, and cook until browned on bottom and potatoes are cooked through, for about 10 minutes longer. Gently run spatula around sides and underneath the potato cake and slide onto a serving plate.
- Cut into portions and dollop with preferred garnishes—think crème fraiche with smoked salmon, sour cream and chives with spiced apples, or thickened yogurt with a sprinkle of chaat masala.