Also Known as
Batata, Aloo, alu, bateta
What is potatoes, aloo?
Whether mashed, baked or roasted, people often regard potatoes as comfort food. It is an important staple food and the number one vegetable crop in the world. The potatoes are the swollen portion of the underground stem which is called a tuber and is designed to provide food for the green leafy portion of the plant. There are about 100 varieties of edible potatoes. They range in size, shape, color, starch content and flavor. They are often classified as either mature potatoes (the large potatoes that we are generally familiar with) or new potatoes (those that are harvested before maturity and are of a much smaller size). The skin of potatoes is generally brown, red or yellow, and may be smooth or rough, while the flesh is yellow or white.
As potatoes have a neutral starchy flavor, they serve as a good complement to many meals. Their texture varies slightly depending upon their preparation, but it can be generally described as rich and creamy. Being a versatile food, it can be used chopped, cubed, grated or sliced.
Boiled and chopped potatoes
To get boiled potato cubes, first wash the potatoes and place them in a flat dish in a pressure cooker and pressure cook for 2 to 3 whistles. Alternatively you can boil them in enough water with a little salt in a deep pan on a stove top for approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Cool them and peel and using a sharp knife. Take a sharp knife and then cut it on a chopping board into half from the centre vertically. Cut each half portion into another half vertically. Now, make thin/ thick slices from each halve by cutting vertically. Holding all the slices together, chop at regular intervals horizontally. Boiled and chopped potatoes are used mainly for making parathas, starters, snacks and vegetables. You can store the boiled potatoes in the refrigerator and use when required.
Boiled and fried potato cubes
Boiled and mashed potatoes
To get boiled potatoes, first wash the potatoes and place them in a flat dish in a pressure cooker and pressure cook for 2 to 3 whistles. Alternatively you can boil them in enough water with a little salt in a deep pan on a stove top for approximately 10 to 15 minutes and drain well. Cool and peel the potatoes with your fingers. Mash them using a potato masher or heavy fork. Ensure that there are no lumps to get desired smoothness. This can be further used for stuffing or to make cutlets and varied savoury food items.
Boiled and peeled potato slices
For boiled and peeled potato slices, first boil the potatoes in a pressure cooker, cool, peel and cut into thin or thick slices as desired. To make slices from a boiled potato, cut the boiled potato into half. Cut into whole round slices by placing the potato halve vertically across the cutting board using a sharp knife. Use as required.
Boiled peeled and grated potatoes
Put the potatoes in boiling water and boil till they are soft. Alternatively, you can also pressure cook potatoes to boil them. Cool slightly and peel the skin. Using a grater, grated the potatoes into thick or thin shreds, as per the recipe requirement. It becomes difficult to grated overcooked potatoes, so make sure the potatoes are boiled hard enough to easily grate them. Boiled, peeled and grated potatoes are used in variety of recipes like kebabs, tikkis, cutlets, etc.
To get boiled potatoes, first wash the potatoes and place them in a flat dish in a pressure cooker and pressure cook for 2 to 3 whistles. Alternatively you can boil them in enough water with a little salt in a deep pan on a stove top for approximately 10 to 15 minutes and drain well. Insert a fork to check whether it's cooked or not.
Boiled potato cubes
To get boiled potato cubes, first wash the potatoes and place them in a flat dish in a pressure cooker and pressure cook for 2 to 3 whistles. Alternatively you can boil them in enough water with a little salt in a deep pan on a stove top for approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Cool them and peel and using a sharp knife. Place the potato on a chopping board and cut it into 2 halves vertically. Then cut each halve into 2 or 3 more pieces vertically depending on the size of cubes required. Now line all the long pieces together on the chopping board and make horizontal cuts to get square sized cubes.
Wash the potatoes and peel it using a peeler. Take a sharp knife and then cut it on a chopping board into half from the centre vertically. Cut each half portion into another half vertically. Now, make thin/ thick slices from each halve by cutting vertically. Holding all the slices together, chop at regular intervals horizontally. Chop the potatoes by cutting them in small pieces approximately ¼ inch in diameter, although the chopped food doesn't need to be exactly the same size. If the recipe calls for the potatoes to be "roughly chopped," make the pieces slightly larger.
There are two main varieties of potatoes which are used in cooking- namely waxy potatoes and mealy potatoes. Mealy potatoes are preferred in recipes which call for frying since they have lower moisture content and will not caramelize or brown much during frying. Potatoes can be stir fried, shallow fried, pan fried or deep fried as per the recipe requirements. Once fried, drain the potatoes on absorbent paper to discard off excess oil.
Potatoes can be grated thinly or thickly using a grater as preferred.
Par boiled and grated potatoes
Pressure cook the potatoes for 3 whistles or till they are 90% cooked. Allow potatoes to cool. Peel the potatoes and grate them thickly with the help of the grater. Use par boiled and grated potatoes for recipes like rosti and parathas.
Parboiled and peeled baby potatoes
Parboiled potatoes are those which are boiled in salted boiling water till the potatoes are 80% cooked. Baby potatoes can be parboiled by putting washed and cleaned baby potatoes in salted boiling water and boil till the potatoes are 80% cooked. Cool slightly, peel and use as required. Parboiled and peeled baby potatoes can be used in variety of recipes in grated, chopped or sliced forms, depending on the recipe.
Parboiled potato cubes
To parboil the potato cubes, bring enough water in a deep pan to boil. Add a little salt and add the potato cubes. Boil for 3-4 minutes or till they are partially cooked. Drain, cool and used as required.
Parboiled potato fingers
To make potato fingers, peel and wash the potatoes, cut the potato into half and then cut each half into thin strips of approx. 1" thickness. To parboil the potato fingers, bring enough water in a deep pan to boil. Add a little salt and add the potato fingers. Boil for 3-4 minutes or till they are partially cooked. Drain, cool and used as required.
Parboiled potato wedges
Parboiling is a cooking technique in which potato wedges are partially cooked in boiling water, but removed before it is cooked all the way through. To parboil the potato wedges, bring enough water in a deep pan to boil. Add a little salt and add the potato wedges. Boil for 3-4 minutes or till they are partially cooked. Drain, cool and used as required.
Peeled and grated raw potato
To get peeled and grated raw potato, first wash the potato and peel it using a peeler. Hold the thick/ thin end of the grater in one hand and the potato in the other hand. Now place the potato on the blade and push it downwards using the force of your hands to get grated strands of potatoes. You can grate it thickly or thinly as per the recipe requirement. Grated raw potatoes are mainly used in rosti.
Wash the potato and peel it using a peeler. Place the potato on a chopping board and cut it into 2 halves vertically. Then cut each halve into 2 or 3 more pieces vertically depending on the size of cubes required. Now line all the long pieces together on the chopping board and make horizontal cuts to get square sized cubes. Cube them into big or small pieces as per the recipe requirement. (for example, ½ inch or 1 inch cubes).
Potato fingers are referred to thin long strips of potato, which are of approx. 1/2" thickness. To make potato fingers, wash and peel the potatoes using a peeler. Take a sharp knife and then cut it on a chopping board into half from the centre vertically. Cut each half portion into another half vertically. Now, make fingers of approx. 1/2" thickness from each halve by cutting vertically. You can get 10-12 fingers from one medium sized potato. These fingers are then deep fried to make French fries and also can be used in other dishes.
Thoroughly wash the potato under a running tap. Place the peeled or unpeeled potato horizontally on a chopping board and slice them across the board into thin slices using a sharp knife. The slices can be cut of desired thickness as per the recipe requirement. Alternatively, place the potato on a potato slicer and slide it from top to bottom continuously to get even thin slices. If the potatoes are sliced and kept minutes in advance, soak them in water till use to avoid them from turning black.
Potato wedges are big pieces of potatoes which are served baked, fried and used in variety of recipes. Select a sharp chef's knife. Before you begin, you can either peel or unpeel the potato as per your choice. Chop the potato into half vertically. Place each potato halve on a chopping board, hold your knife comfortably, with your forefinger running down one side of the blade and your thumb pressed against the opposite side and chop it at regular intervals vertically to get thick potato wedges. They may be seasoned with salt, pepper and spices prior to frying, to give a crispy 'skin'. Fried potato wedges are popular snack foods typically served with condiments such as sour cream, sweet chilli sauce, brown sauce and tomato sauce.
Wash the potato and peel it using a peeler. Take a sharp knife and then cut it on a chopping board into half from the centre vertically. Slice using a sharp knife by cutting vertically across the chopping board. Slice them thinly or thickly as per the recipe. The slices can also be boiled and then cut as per the recipe requirement.
How to Select potatoes, aloo
While potatoes are often conveniently packaged in a plastic bag, it is usually better to buy them individually from a bulk display. Not only will this allow you to better inspect the potatoes for signs of decay or damage, but many times, the plastic bags are not perforated and cause a build up of moisture that can negatively affect the potatoes. Potatoes should be firm, well shaped and relatively smooth, and should be free of decay that often manifests as wet or dry rot. In addition, they should not be sprouting or have green coloration since this indicates that they may contain the toxic that imparts an undesirable taste.
Sometimes stores will offer already cleaned potatoes. These should be avoided since when their protective coating is removed by washing, potatoes are more vulnerable to bacteria. In addition, already cleaned potatoes are also more expensive, and since you will have to wash them again before cooking, you will be paying an unnecessary additional cost.
Since new potatoes are harvested before they are fully mature, they are much more susceptible to damage. Be especially careful when purchasing these to buy ones that are free from discoloration and injury. Avoid potatoes with soft spots or blemishes, a greenish tint, or sprouts.
Culinary uses of potatoes, aloo
· Potatoes should be cleaned and cut right before cooking in order to avoid the discoloration that occurs with exposure to air. Scrub the potatoes after washing them using a serrated knife to remove the excess dirt if any. Wash and then use in recipes.If you cannot cook them immediately after cutting, place them in a bowl of cold water to which you have added a little bit of lemon juice, as this will prevent their flesh from darkening and will also help to maintain their shape during cooking. As potatoes are also sensitive to certain metals that may cause them to discolor, avoid cooking them in iron or aluminum pots or using a carbon steel knife to cut them.
· Purée roasted garlic, cooked potatoes and olive oil together to make delicious garlic mashed potatoes. Season to taste.
· Potatoes are a featured ingredient in many classic dishes.
· Toss steamed diced potato with olive oil and fresh herbs of your choice.
· If sprouts have formed, scrape them off. Also, remove off-color spots; some of these contain a mild toxin known as solanine.
· Hash browns Potatoes - In a large nonstick skillet, heat butter (or olive oil) over medium heat. Add coarsely shredded potatoes; cover, and cook until bottom is golden brown, adjusting heat as necessary. Turn potatoes over carefully to brown opposite side. Season with salt and pepper. Note: Turn only once for crisper potatoes.
· Don't forget, the fiery taste of Vada-Pav and Potato bhaji - extensively relished.
· Potato mashed can be used either alone or in combination with other grated or chopped veggies with spices to make savoury item or snacks - Aloo ki tikkis, Stuffed Parathas.
· Potato Vegetable can be made using chopped, cubed or whole potato, as desired.
· Whole small sized potatoes are often filled with mixture of spices and coriander and stuffed and cooked - Dum Aloo.
· Aloo chana chat is a favourite food enjoyed among all age groups.
· A simple dry potato bhaji or gravy potato vegetable tastes yum with roti, parathas, bhakri or thepla and bread too!
· Potatoes are best for baking, potato salads, mashing, soups and chowders, pan-frying, French fries, roasting, steaming, sandwiches! Experiment with your imagination and use potato as you want with any spice of your choice as it blends well with almost everything.
How to Store potatoes, aloo
The ideal way to store potatoes is in a dark, dry, cool, dark area with good ventilation. Potatoes should definitely not be exposed to sunlight as it turns the skin green and makes the potato bitter. Also, Potatoes should not be stored in the refrigerator, as their starch content will turn to sugar giving them an undesirable taste. In addition, do not store potatoes near onions, as the gases that they each emit will cause the degradation of one another. Wherever you store them, they should be kept in a paper bag.
Mature potatoes stored properly can keep up to two months. Check on the potatoes frequently, removing any that have sprouted or shriveled as spoiled ones can quickly affect the quality of the others. New potatoes are much more perishable and will only keep for one week.
Cooked potatoes will keep fresh in the refrigerator for several days. Potatoes do not freeze well.
Health Benefits of potatoes, aloo
· Potatoes are a very popular food source. Unfortunately, most people eat potatoes in the form of greasy French fries or potato chips, and even baked potatoes are typically loaded down with fats such as butter, sour cream, and melted cheese and bacon bits. Such treatment can make even baked potatoes a potential contributor to a heart attack. But take away the extra fat and deep frying, and a baked potato is an exceptionally healthful low calorie, high fiber food that offers significant protection against cardiovascular disease and cancer.
· Potatoes as a very good source of vitamin C, a good source of vitamin B6, copper, potassium, manganese, and dietary fiber.
· Potatoes also contain a variety of phytonutrients that have antioxidant activity.
· The potato skin is a concentrated source of dietary fiber, so to get the most nutritional value from this vegetable, don't peel it and consume both the flesh and the skin. Just scrub the potato under cold running water right before cooking and then remove any deep eyes or bruises with a paring knife. If you must peel it, do so carefully with a vegetable peeler, only removing a thin layer of the skin and therefore retaining the nutrients that lie just below the skin.
· Raw potato juice taken 1 or 2 teaspoon before meals relieves the pain caused due to rheumatism, in stomach and intestinal disorders.
· Raw juice applied externally cures skin blemishes.