International Day of Potato 2024: Explore 10 unusual potato dishes from around the world - Hindustan Times
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International Day of Potato 2024: Explore 10 unusual potato dishes from around the world

By, New Delhi
May 30, 2024 10:17 AM IST

Potatoes are loved globally, with 4,000 varieties in 130 countries. On International Day of Potato, let's celebrate with some unique potato dishes.

What I say is that, if a fellow really likes potatoes, he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow.”–A.A. Milne.

Potatoes are beloved worldwide, known by many names: papas, spuds, taters, tots, batata, aardappel, kartoffel. (Unsplash)
Potatoes are beloved worldwide, known by many names: papas, spuds, taters, tots, batata, aardappel, kartoffel. (Unsplash)

Papas (literally, tubers). That is what potatoes were called by the Incas who first cultivated potatoes nearly 8,000 years ago. Around the middle of the 16th century, the potato came to Europe via Spain and England. Due to its blossom, however, the potato was originally identified as an ornamental plant rather than an agricultural crop. It is said that French Queen Marie Antoinette fashioned the potato flower into a hair accessory, whilst her husband King Louis XVI wore them in his lapel. It was Swiss botanist Gaspard Bauhin or Caspar Bauhin (1560-1624) who called the tuber solanum tuberosum esculentum (edible, tuberous nightshade) - a name that has stayed. (Also read: International Potato Day 2024: Date, history, significance and all that you need to know )

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Today, there are 4,000 cultivated varieties of potatoes grown in 130 countries worldwide. In India, the story of the potato began with the early Portuguese and Dutch traders but it was the British East India Company that gave potato cultivation a big push. Globally, potato is the third most-cultivated food crop after wheat and rice. On International Day of Potato (May 30), let’s look at some of potato dishes from around the globe.

1. Kumpir (Turkey): Originally from former Yugoslavia, the Turkish Kumpir is big baked jacket potato, stuffed with garlic butter and cheese and served with various toppings. Traditionally, potatoes are baked in special Kumpir ovens and then butter and cheese is mashed in for smooth cream consistency. If you are ever in Istanbul, head to the Ortakoy area to eat the best Kumpir in town.

2. Gamjajeon (Korea): Gamja (potato) and jeon (pancake) is a savoury Korean dish made by pan-frying finely grated potatoes until golden brown. Traditionally, Koreans serve gamjajeon as a main dish that features a simple potato base but it now comes in several variations. It’s commonly accompanied by dipping sauces like soy sauce mixed with vinegar, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes, enhancing the flavours of the pancake.

3. Colcannon (Ireland): Heard of the traditional Irish song Colcannon? Did you ever eat Colcannon, made from lovely pickled cream? With the greens and scallions mingled like a picture in a dream. Did you ever make a hole on top to hold the melting flake Of the creamy, flavoured butter that your mother used to make? That’s what the Colcannon is - a buttery creamy mashed potatoes mixed with sautéed cabbage and lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. Colcannon is very similar to a Scottish dish called Rumbledethumps and the English Bubble & Squeak.

4. Hasselbackspotatis (Sweden): Borrowing its name from an 18th century tavern that originally was just a red hut house in the middle of a hassel (hazel) on quite a steep slope (backen), Hasselback is Swedish-style roast potato. Restaurang Hasselbacken (Stockholm) opened in 1853 and Hasselbackspotatis (literally, Hazelslope potatoes) were first served in the 1940s and became an instant hit as a side dish with poultry and meat.

5. Perkedel Kentang (Indonesia): Perkedel or bergedel in Indonesian, and begedil in Malay, this is a fried potato patty side dish made of mashed fried potatoes, meat and spices. Interestingly, the name perkedel is derived from frikandel, a Dutch term for deep-fried minced meat patties. Crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside, perkedel is best eaten when still piping hot. Other varieties of perkedel are perkedel tahu (tofu fritters), perkedel tempe (tempeh fritters and perkedel jagung (corn fritters).

6. Rosti (Switzerland): Often called the national dish of German-speaking Switzerland, rosti is a traditional dish of fried grated potatoes often topped with a fried egg, bacon and/or cheese. Originally, a breakfast dish, rosti is also known as a classic hiking food and easily available in mountain huts. Though similar to the American hash browns, in rosti, grated potatoes are compressed into thick pancake and sometimes served as a side dish with bratwurst and onion gravy or sliced veal or pork in a cream sauce (a traditional Zürich dish called Zürigeschnetzeltes).

7. Raspeballer (Norway): Raspeballer is a traditional potato dumpling dish which goes by many names and is served differently depending on where in Norway you are. In Southern Norway, the dish is usually called komler or komper while the people in Fjord Norway often say potetballer, raspeballer, orkomler. Some prefer to serve the potato dumplings with only syrup and crispy bacon while others make them as a side dish, with pork knuckle or salted lamb. In Norway, it's a tradition to serve raspeballer on Thursdays.

8. Papa a la Huancaína (Peru): Originally from the region of Huancayo (Peru), Papa a la huancaína (literally, Huancayo style potatoes) is a Peruvian appetiser of cold boiled potatoes in a spicy, creamy sauce (Huancaina sauce) made of queso fresco and sautéed or grilled ají amarillo (Peruvian chilli), red onion and garlic.

9. Stoemp (Belgium): A rural dish, Stoemp is made of mashed or pureed potatoes along with root vegetables, herbs, shallots, spices, cream and in some variations with bacon. Traditionally, it is served alongside fried black pudding, fried Braadworst (large Dutch sausage), grilled bacon, and/or fried eggs. Sometimes, it is served with an entrecôte (premium cut of beef) or horse tenderloin.

10. Silpancho (Bolivia): Originating in the Bolivian city of Cochabamba, Silpancho consists of a bed of white rice, followed by a layer of boiled and sliced potatoes and then a thin layer of pounded meat topped with chopped tomato. The word Silpancho comes from the Quechua language (sillp’anchu) that means thin & pounded meat.

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