The Case of Potatoes
For the past several weeks of my 2in1 period of life with nr.2 addition to the family I seem to be rather craving one basic (Czech) nutritive – potatoes. Usually boiled, but in any case, I need them. I like rice, don’t get me wrong, but seriously, the amount of rice consumed in Kuwait is just way too much! I was born and raised in a potato country and as such I believe irreversibly in the power of a raw potato (good for your bones, my grandma used to say. True, she used to say fresh yeast is good for skin too – which probably is considering the heaps of vit. B contained in it – but my joy of eating that was much, much less visible.), and I believe that potatoes contain a lot of vitamins and minerals and generally stuff your average mid-European body needs for it’s survival and hence my insane craving for them in the third trimester is actually easily explainable – back to the roots, back to the healthy body with true balanced diet!
Well, whatever it is forcing me to eat ‘tatoes; Abbas maybe, considering how skillfully he made me eat a bunch of steaks – and still want them – although I am normally red-meat non-eater; today’s lunch for me is decided.
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It’s a sort of potato boiled balls with flour mashed together and that ripped apart with a spoon dipped in butter (or lard), served with whatever you prefer – sweet with powder sugar and ground poppy seeds and a spoon of butter over it, or a certain kind of hard quark (curd) which I reckon I can’t really describe unless you are raised in Czech, or salty variant with salt and pickles, or bacon – in which case you can also dry/lard fry the potato mash.
It’s rather versatile and very cheap when it comes to materials needed for cooking – just butter, potatoes, flour, water and something to add as finishing as mentioned above, and it’s a traditional Czech meal, which I believe was also widely sported during both WWs in my country – or so said both of my grandmothers.
I believe my Kuwaiti (read: harees, yareesh, maraaq and machboos raised husband) will once again wonder what’s so wrong with his wife, that she cooks something which looks so stomach unfriendly and weird – but hey, not as if harees looks delicious on the first glance!
PS.: If you fancy yourself a try:
You will need:
potatoes (enough to satisfy desired portion, around 1kg for 4-5 people),
wheat flour (the finer it is, the worse, so generally use roughly grained one, around 10 spoons for 750g of ‘tatoes),
some butter or lard to melt and dip your spoon in,
and for the sweet and most known type – powder sugar, ground poppy seeds, and some of that melted butter.
Peel the potatoes, cut them (it can be in half, it can be into bigger pieces), pour enough water onto them so they’re under the level of it, add about a small teaspoon of salt (really, that’s up to you and the salt you use) and put it to boil. When almost done, pour away (but don’t throw!) the water. Take the flour and powder your potatoes in a pot with them, shake well so it gets in and around – you can also make holes in the potato filled pot with a wooden spoon turned upside down to make sure the flour gets nicely in. Pour a little of the water you stored away back (150ml? Same amount of spoons as flour? Opinions differ,) and cover it with lid, and on very low flame let the flour get steamed for around 20 minutes.
You should be able to mix it with wooden spoon (or optionally mash with the potato gadget kitchenware) into a quite smooth, not-much-sticky mass (if it is too sticky, you might’ve used too fine flour, or might just wanna steam away a little bit more of the humidity). You than take your spoon and dip it into freshly melted butter and cut away with it chunks of that potato matter on your dish. The butter is what makes sure you don’t get it stuck on spoon. After that feel free to serve with few spoons of ground poppy seeds and sugar and a spoon of butter poured over it, or in any other earlier mentioned variant – your fantasy is your playground.
You can also dry fry the stuff or some folks use lard to fry on, and serve it afterwards.
And if it didn’t come out as you expected? Well, it’s cheap, you can try again or throw that idea out of the window completely.