Peelin’ five keel-o’s of potato’s

May 25, 2009

Exhibit 1: Cubed Potatoes

Exhibit 1: Cubed Potatoes

In the beginning of my semester here in Vienna, I thought I could budget well.

After trips to Italy and Okinawa (to visit the Boyfriend) and other such exotic places, I realize that I really must stop spending on food and actually do stuff with my money. So every time I go grocery shopping, I try to make the most Euro for the buck.

Last week, as I was at my bank, er grocery, I saw a display for a bag of potatoes on sale for 2 Euros, which is the equivalent of 3 U.S. dollars. I dragged it back to my apartment, where it proudly sat, all 5 kilos in the corner. Until I realized that I had no potato peeler. And that I was too miserly to go buy a potato peeler.

So I sat there. Peeled roughly 20 – 30 the first day. The easiest thing I could do is make mashed potatoes, which I did.

Exhibit 2: Mashed Potatoes

Exhibit 2: Mashed Potatoes

Yupgi Girl’s Easy Mashed Potatoes

  • 20 – 30 small potatoes
  • 2 tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 1 tsp salt, add more for taste
  • 1/4 cup milk
  1. Wash potatoes under water, you do not need to peel them yet.* Start by boiling the potatoes in a big pot on medium-high heat. Depending on your stovetop, the water may start to visibily boil after 10 – 15 minutes. If you want your mashed potatoes fluffy, start checking your potatoes 10 minutes after the water starts to boil. Take a fork and stick it in one of the biggest potatoes in the pot, if the fork goes in smoothly but encounters resistance near the middle, then you will get fluffier mashed potatoes. If you like starchier mashed potatoes, then continue boiling until the fork goes in all the way through the potato, without any resistance.
  2. Once the potatoes are done boiling, drain water and rinse under cold water for 30 seconds. I have a pretty high tolerance to heat on my hands, so I start peeling the potatoes after this point, but if you have sensitive hands, put on rubber gloves and peel away with a knife.
  3. In a separate bowl, put in the butter at the bottom of the bowl. Load all your potatoes in and sprinkle salt evenly over the potatoes. Mash with a fork or, if you have a super KitchenAid mixer (that I am definitely jealous 0f), mash with said mixer. Once your potatoes are all mashed, or when they start looking dry, then you can add in the milk, it should make the potatoes fluffier and creamier. The end!

*If you have a potato peeler, definitely peel them before you put them in, and reduce boiling time by 5 minutes.

After 3 days of consuming mashed potatoes with spaghetti, I decided it was time for something new.

Again, it would have been wonderful if I had the appropriate kitchen tools on hand, but being in Vienna, I am away from my regular kitchen (uh, like I even use it a lot when I’m home, usually Mom’s the cooker). This julienning of potatoes would have been much easier, if I had this handy dandy plastic Korean serrator thing that you use to slide the potatoes against, and you have instant, even, julienned potatoes. Alas. Yupgi Girl brushed up on her knife skills, instead.

Exhibit 3: Julienned Potatoes

Exhibit 3: Julienned Potatoes

A handy potato tip: Since potatoes easily discolor if left raw in the air for too long, for quick storage nearby, submerge in water and the potatoes will not discolor, as long as they are submerged. But be careful not to let them stay in for too long, as they will absorb more water than needed and change cooking times.

Julienning with a dull knife definitely took the wind out of cheap-potato-excitement. I decided to do a bigger cut. Thus, the cubed breakfast potatoes were born.

Exhibit 4: Breakfast Potatoes

Exhibit 4: Breakfast Potatoes

Then I looked at the bag. There was over 2/3 of it left. That calculates into roughly 40 – 50 more potatoes to peel without an actual potato peeler.

Exhibit 5: Many Peeled Potatoes

Exhibit 5: Many Peeled Potatoes

What else was there to do except Skype all the people I know (basically Mom and the Boyfriend) , all the while looking sad and miserable because I sat in front of the screen, peeling potatoes with a dull knife. I’d had enough of buttery-type recipes, so I went back to the roots and made a Korean banchan, or side dish, called Gamja Joreem (감자 조림). Gamja means potato and joreem means stewed. The recipe was adapted from Maangchi, one of my favorite internet sources for authentic Korean cooking. I left out onions, corn syrup, and garlic in mine and added 2 big tablespoons of gochujang (고추장), Korean pepper paste, to make it spicier.

Exhibit 6: Gamja Joreem (감자 조림)

Exhibit 6: Gamja Joreem (감자 조림)

I still have the second (! yes, I made a second) batch of mashed potatoes and the gamja joreem in my fridge.

Moral of the story?

Never ever buy a five kilogram bag of potatoes… unless you have a potato peeler!
Yupgi Girl.


6 Responses to “Peelin’ five keel-o’s of potato’s”

  1. Selby Says:

    I love eating potatoes… much more than rice or bread 😉

    • ricediaries Says:

      Sadly, I still love eating potatoes too. Although, rice and bread come about even. What am I talking, I love all food. What is your favorite dish that has potatoes in it?

      • Selby Says:

        My favorite dish that has potato? Hmmm…. everything that got potato, I guess, hehehe… but for sure, mashed potato is the winner 😉

  2. Ninette Says:

    Are you eating all those potato dishes? Wow! The bag could have lasted you awhile, but I guess when it rains, it pours (potatoes, that is).

    • ricediaries Says:

      Yup, am definitely eating all these potato dishes. I wish the bag lasted me awhile, but they started sprouting because I left them in a warm spot of the kitchen. (The sprouts have a type of poison in them, so you’re supposed to cut them out and eat as soon as possible after that point).

  3. Maangchi Says:

    Allo! You have a wonderful blog! haha, you added a little hot pepper flakes to my gamjajorimi recipe. Nice! Looks yummy and I also like your mashed potato recipe.

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