Mashed potato refers to a kind of potato paste prepared by mashing the boiled potatoes with the help of a potato masher, ricer, and food mill or simply by a fork.
Though it is a simple dish prepared with minimal ingredients such as cream, milk, oil, and seasonings; the mashed potato is typically served with several other dishes like bangers and mash and grilled meats.
Preparation of Mashed Potato
‘Floury’ potatoes are generally suggested by the mashed potato recipe, although ‘waxy’ variety of potatoes is also a popular ingredient to bring out a different texture of the mashed potato. Salt and pepper are the commonly used seasonings in the recipe, whereas for extra creamy texture and flavor, milk, cream, oil and butter are added. Few herbs such as rosemary, parsley and wasabi are also commonly added to enhance the flavor of potato mixture.
Other popular seasonings that form the part of mashed potato recipe are garlic, spring onion, bacon bits, mustard and nutmeg. Crisp fried onions are added to include some crunch to mashed potato.
For the preparation of mashed potato, the potatoes are boiled at a controlled temperature. It is recommended not to cook potatoes for too long at a high temperature. High temperature cooking and kinetic energy allows the starchy wall of potatoes to burst that releases amylose. This process leads to trap the water inside the potatoes resulting in a non-preferred ‘gluey’ texture similar to the thickness added to the gravy or curries with the addition of starch. To avoid this undesired consistency of potato mixture, it is better to slice the potatoes before boiling. Sliced potatoes allow the equal amount of heat to reach its surface. Potatoes should be cooked until just tender and they should be rinsed with cold water to restrict the further cooking. Rinsing also helps to remove the excess amylase from the potato slices.
Though food mill or processor can be used to mash the boiled potatoes, the mechanical process further breaks the starchy grains resulting in release of amylose that may give an unpleasant ‘gluey’ texture to the potatoes. Therefore, potatoes should be mashed with potato masher or fork. It is also recommended to mash the potatoes before adding the butter or oil, as addition of butter lubricates the potato, creating more difficulty in breaking the potato lumps.
Serving and Eating of Mashed Potato
Seasoned potato mash is generally used as a side dish with different kind of foods such as sausages, toasted bread, soups and even with gravy dishes.
Apart from being served as a dish, potato mash is widely incorporated as an ingredient to several dishes such as stuffing for Indian aloo parantha, Cottage and Shepherd’s pie, vegetable dumplings and gnocchi.
Variations of Mashed Potato Recipe
- French variation – This mashed potato recipe calls for egg yolk to be combined with other ingredients. The mixture is then piped in shape of rosettes or ribbons through a pastry tube. The designs are lightly coated with melted butter and slightly browned.
- Indian variation – Aloo ka bharta is somewhat similar to mashed potato, but seasoned with mustard seeds, cumin seeds, spices and quite often chopped onion. This Indian version of mashed potato is best eaten with parantha or poori.