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Four reasons potatoes need more love

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Potato is a staple food and feeds two-thirds of the worlds population – it is a favorite in many places. It is a very good source of Vitamin C, proteins and fiber. Potatoes are perfect as a side dish for any meals, makes a great main course also and it is so versatile – they could be eaten with the skins on or off and can be cooked with different techniques; chopped, mashed, grated, rolled, sliced, grated and more.

It could be the wedges to your chicken wings, or the chips that accompany your fish. Potatoes can be made into a pottage, be enjoyed as a curry or simply roasted. There are so many dishes and outcomes for potatoes and that is why they deserve more love than they get. Here are four popular ways to enjoy potatoes and how to get it right.

Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes are really delicious and is the perfect accompaniment for many meals. Very light and also very comforting to eat. However, not everyone gets it right when trying to prepare it.

To Prepare: Cut potatoes into cubes evenly so that it can cook at the same temperature. If it cooks at different temperatures the texture might be different when mashed –with some over cooked and others undercooked. Transfer cut potatoes to a pot of cold water, add some salt and bring to the boil. Make sure potatoes are mashed gently so that it does not become gluey. It needs to be light.

To enjoy mashed potatoes, add butter and hot milk and beat in with the potatoes, season with some salt and white pepper. For really rich mash potatoes, add heavy cream or cream fraiche and some nutmeg. For a Mediterranean version, add some salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil with some grated Parmesan Cheese.

Oven roasted Potatoes
Roasted Potatoes can be enjoyed on its own or served with beans, eggs, stew or anything you like. As with potatoes, options are endless.

To Prepare: Cut Potatoes into chunks and Parboil Potatoes (boil for a few minutes). This helps to give the Potatoes a crispness that so many enjoy. After Parboiling, transfer the Potatoes to a colander and drain properly. Once drained, give it a toss or shake a bit, just to roughen it-this will produce the crispiest results.

Place the potatoes on a tray and have enough room so that each potato can be turned around easily. Using a cooking brush, coat the potatoes with oil and transfer to a preheated oven at 200 degrees C and bake for about 35 minutes, till it looks golden and crisp. Once you touch with a fork, it is crunchy. While cooking, turn it from side to side so that it cooks evenly.

Potato Chips/Fries
Making the perfect Potato chips might seem like a pretty simple task, but the end results may not always be impressive. These tips will help you make chips that you will be proud of.

To Prepare: Cut Potatoes into 5mm/1/4-inch-thick slices and soak in salted water. If you want chips that are crisp on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside, then the potatoes then do not skip this step because it will help to get rid of some of the starch. Transfer potatoes to a colander and allow to drain. It can also be patted dry with a kitchen paper towel, to ensure it is really rid of water. At this point you can decide to fry or oven bake.

To fry, add vegetable oil to a frying pan and toss the potatoes in, fry till you are happy with the level of doneness. Alternatively, fry potatoes till they are just about done, drain oil and allow to cool. It can be frozen at this point. Once ready to eat, fry again till desired level of brownness is achieved, this results in really crunchy potato chips.

Always fry in small batches so that the temperature does not drop, and always dry the chips before frying because water can cause to oil to spit and splash.

To bake in the oven, preheat oven to 240 degrees Celsius. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise, then into long thin or thick wedges, depending on what size you like Drizzle oil and coat the potatoes then transfer the potatoes to the oven tray and spread it out. Sprinkle Potatoes with some herbs of choice and salt then roast for about 20 minutes till they are golden brown and crisp, the bigger your chips are, the longer the cooking time will be. Also, be sure to turn/toss as it cooks so that it cooks evenly

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