Crisp, crunchy, and fluffy
Crunchy roasted potatoes are not a traditional potato masala, but it gives this family favorite a vibrant zing. I have taken a page from the great Kenji Lopez-Alt. In his YouTube video series, he has figured out how to take potatoes to new heights. Find out how to make the potatoes of your dreams. There are no complicated steps, so you can make them as a side dish, even for a weeknight meal.
Type of potatoes?
After his usual exhaustive testing, Kenji found that red potatoes are not a good option for this recipe. They wind up not giving you the crisp exterior that you want. Russet or starchy potatoes are the ideal vehicles for a crunchy crust. (BTW, if you are in the U.K., use Maris Piper, King Edward, or Marfona potatoes.) Yukon gold potatoes are second-best; their low starch and high sugar content have a lot of flavor. A mix of these two choices might be a good way to go.
Tricks and tips
One way to get an extra crunchy exterior on your potatoes is to boil them first in salted water with a half teaspoon of baking soda. This creates a fuzzy, rough surface that crisps up to a golden brown thing of beauty in the oven.
To start these potatoes ahead, cook them through the boiling stage, coat them with the spiced oil, and spread them on a baking sheet. Cover and pop them in the refrigerator until you are ready for the final roasting. This step can even be done a day ahead.
You can also double this recipe to four pounds of potatoes, but make sure to evenly space the chunks so that they have plenty of room to roast and not steam. Lastly, please don’t skimp on the oil even though it may seem like a lot, or you will not have the potatoes you are looking for.
Spice mixes to use
The popular British Curry Guy has an excellent madras curry recipe if you are looking for your “house” curry powder. I have been experimenting with various spicing ideas, and my favorite so far is taking the Bengali panch phoron five-spice mix and grinding it into a powder for a fragrant twist. This idea comes from Roman Saha of GlebeKitchen whose comfort food is the flavors of West Bengal. Skip frozen french fries, use your creativity, and play with your spice sweet spot.
Raita, even plain yogurt makes a lovely contrast between the hot potatoes and the cool yogurt. Drizzles of your favorite green chutney, crisp fried onions (birista), a sprinkle with coarse salt, and a flutter of cilantro, any or all of these make the perfect topping at the end. One of my favorite Indian pickles is Mother’s Recipe Lemon Pickle, and I’ve finely chopped it and mixed it into the potatoes before serving. It took these crunchy roasted potatoes over the top!
See the Notes below before you cook.
Spiced Crunchy Roasted Potatoes
- 2 pounds russet potatoes ~ Or Yukon gold potatoes or a mix
- 1 tablespoon sea or table salt ~ Or 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil ~ Or oil of your choice
- 1 tablespoon garlic ~ Minced, 2 to 3 cloves
- 1 to 2 teaspoons green chili ~ Optional, minced
- 1 teaspoon garam masala ~ Or 1 teaspoon ground panch phoron, or your favorite curry powder
- 1 teaspoon Kashmiri ground red chili ~ Or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon sea or table salt ~ 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice ~ Or 1 teaspoon amchoor
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 tablespoon cilantro ~ Chopped, or parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- Gather your ingredients.
- Peel and cut the potatoes into cubes of 1 1/2 to 2-inches.
- Make sure your oven rack is in the center of your oven. Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C) or 400°F (200°C) for a convention. In a 3.5-quart pan or larger over high heat, add 2 quarts of water, 1 tablespoon of salt, baking soda, and the potatoes. Bring to a boil, and then turn down to simmer for 10 to minutes until the potatoes are cooked through.
- While the potatoes are cooking, add the oil to a small pan over mediium heat. Add the garlic and cook gently until they start turning golden around the edges. Add the mince green chili, if using and stir for a minute. Stir in the garam masala and Kashmiri chili and remove the pan for the heat. Set aside.
- In a bowl large enough to hold the potatoes, add the salt and lemon juice.
- When the potatoes are finished cooking, drain and place pot back on the burner for a minute so extra water evaporates. Shake the pan a couple of times to help create a rough surface. Strain the flavored oil into the bowl, leaving the garlic pieces behind. Set aside. Stir in the potatoes to coat well.
- Spread the potatoes onto a rimmed baking sheet, leaving as much space as you can. Roast for 20 minutes without moving them. Turn the potato pieces over, using a thin spatula or knife to help any stuck potatoes along. Roast for another 15 to 30 minutes more, depending on your oven.
- Pour the potatoes into a large bowl and stir in the reserved garlic and chilies. Garnish with cilantro, parsley, and coarse salt if you wish. See the Notes below for some other ideas.
- Topping ideas: Raita, or even plain yogurt makes a lovely contrast between the hot crunchy roasted potatoes and the cool yogurt. Drizzles of your favorite green chutney, crispy fried onions (birista), make the perfect topping at the end. One of my favorite Indian pickles is Mother’s Recipe Lemon Pickle, and I’ve finely chopped it and mixed it into the potatoes before serving. Adding curry leaves to the potatoes 5 minutes before they are done is another yummy idea.
- Keeping/storing: The potatoes are best when freshly roasted, but they will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in the oven for 5 minutes or until re-crisped.
- Doubling tips: This recipe can be doubled to four pound of potatoes but they will take longer to brown properly. You might consider using two baking trays place in the top third and bottom third of the oven, switching them halfway through the roasting time. Keep an eye on them to because one my finish roasting before the other.