Sunday, October 25, 2015

Patatas Bravas

I came across this Spanish dish, Patatas Bravas, when I was watching something on youtube. It seemed complicated, but doable - in just the right proportion to capture my attention. I have since been wanting to try this out, and I finally made it today.

Salsa Bravas
Patatas Bravas, literally translated means "brave potatoes", but actually mean "fierce potatoes". It is a starter, and is a simple two fold process - salsa and the fries.

I watched and read a few recipes for this dish and found they have been customized mildly, but the core is the same - a tomato based spicy salsa. I used 3 red tomatoes, medium in size (medium as per Indian sizing), cut them into eights and dropped them into a blender cup. On a frying pan, with only a tsp or so of oil, fry chopped onions and garlic for a minute or so, turn off the flame and then add them to the tomatoes. Also add 2 green chilis, chopped (it doesn't matter much, we will be blending them soon) a couple of tsp of powdered red paprika / red chili powder. Add a pinch of sugar and a little bit of salt. Then, add two spoon-scoops of mayonnaise to it. Close the lid of the blender cup and blend the ingredients until you see a thick paste with no solid lumps. Taste the salsa and check if the heat is as per your taste. The salsa looks beautiful - the mayo lends a white shade to the red tomatoes and paprika, so the final result is a bit creamy looking; and the taste is spicy hot, you can see the heat. You can now refrigerate the salsa until you need it.

For the fries, it is intended to spice up the potatoes as early as possible. Take a sufficient water in a heating vessel to hold the potatoes you plan to use. Bring the water to simmering heat (but not a boil). Add red chili/paprika powder to the water and then put in the potatoes (unpeeled) and let them soak in the simmering water for 20 minute. Now, turn off the flame, remove the potatoes and peel them. I found this part tough, as I am used to peeling boiler potatoes - easy as. These are tough, be careful not to mash them if you are using a peeler. Cut the potatoes into bite size cubes. Take generous amount of oil in a fry pan and bring it to a med-high heat. Deep fry the potatoes in batches until they turn golden brown and are penetrable through a now crispy surface. Remove them from the oil onto paper towels to soak the excess oil. The outsides are crispy, slightly brownish and the insides are soft. If the cubes are very big, the insides come out hard. Sprinkle some salt over them once the oil wears off.

When all batches are done, transfer them on to a serving plate, hot. From what I have seen/read, the salsa is randomly poured over the plate of fries - just enough to top each potato fry in an imperfect manner, but not too much as to soak the potatoes in the salsa - and served to be eaten with the help of toothpicks. I served the salsa in a separate cup for each to pour in as much as s/he wishes. Patatas Bravas, ready.

You can feel the softness of the fries with the toothpick, the crunch is coated with the salsa dip which is spicy hot. It seems to be a nice party snack, a starter. It gets over in a jiffy, too. The heat also would bode well during the winter, I guess. Only 20 % of the salsa that I prepared got consumed today - I had used 4 medium sized (Indian) potatoes for the fries. The rest of it is back into the refrigerator and we plant to consume it along with the parathas, idlis and dosas during breakfast.

Notes: The sauce can be made well in advance and stocked, while you can make the fries when you want. So, in a way, you can make this in short notice (provided you have the salsa).
You can add the tomatoes to the pan while frying the onions/garlic, and saute for a short while before going to the blender.
Also, a couple of things that other recipes mentioned but I didn't have - vinegar, and tomato paste.
I ran out of garlic cloves, so I used a garlic-ginger paste instead. The ginger would be spicy, but will not lend to the heat.
Salsa Bravas might be a nice side to parathas, idlis, dosas because the spicy heat is kind of matches the purpose of chutneys that the mentioned Indian breakfasts go along well with. I have never had an idli with something that contains mayo, though. There is always a first time, like the first time I made Patatas Bravas.


  1. Seems like an interesting dish for jhatpat quick-fix eating. I'm not even sure if I would want to try this because of my pathetic culinary skills. Nonetheless, I'd like to try it at some point if it is prepared by some seasoned people :)

  2. Very interesting blog. A lot of blogs I see these days don't really provide anything that attract others, but I'm most definitely interested in this one. Just thought that I would post and let you know.