Most people don’t even notice the difference, but in South African homes you’ll find three types of potatoes – starchy, waxy and all-purpose. It’s important to choose the right potatoes for the right dish.
• high in starch and low in moisture
• good for baking, boiling and frying
• avoid in casseroles, gratins and salads
• low in starch with a creamy, firm and moist flesh that holds its shape well
• good for roasting, boiling, casseroles and potato salads
• avoid in microwave cooking and mashing
• medium starch content
• used for just about any cooking
• most commonly available in all supermarkets
Baked potatoes: The skin becomes crisp because the starch just below the skin converts to sugar which browns in heat. It is best to cook longer on low heat.
TIP: As soon as you remove the potatoes from the oven, cut a slit in them so that the inside doesn’t steam, as it makes for a heavier consistency.
Mashed potatoes: Return the potatoes to the hot pot after boiling and draining to dry them out a little before mashing. Immediately add butter before mashing. This coats the cells and the starch,so they absorb less liquid, making the potatoes fluffier.
TIP: Add a teaspoon of baking powder to your mashed potatoes to make them even fluffier.
Fried potatoes: Make sure that your potatoes are completely dry before frying them. Soaking your potatoes in cold water for at least 30 minutes before frying will help them crisp better.
TIP: Double fry potatoes for even better results. Fry for a few minutes until slightly limp and set aside. Fry again after a few minutes until golden brown and crisp.
Did you know?
A baked potato is more nutrient-dense than a boiled potato. It provides six grams of protein and six grams of fibre and has about 25% more magnesium as a boiled potato.