The humble spud gets Spicy!

So, I’m Irish and yes I love potatoes — mashed (with butter of course), baked, chipped, roasted and in salads. I also use them in soup, stews and casseroles and serve them with meat, fish, and (of course) beans and cheese.

Recently, I was in Sydney with my lovely son Jamie and his gorgeous wife, Jess.  Every Saturday, we went to Orange Grove Markets to buy the weekly shop.  We’d meet Steve and Tash for a coffee and then explore the delights of the market. There was always a great atmosphere with people selling their wares. Delicious smells from Japanese pancakes, to bacon and egg sandwiches highlighted these trips. The fruit stalls handed out samples of vibrant, fresh fruit — often just picked that morning. It was shopping like I’d never experienced it before!

There was an abundance of fresh milk and yoghurts; fruit and veg; spices; delicious breads and handmade toiletries. Jess and Jamie even had their special ‘tomato man’ and ‘potato man’!  Who impressed and amazed me was the potato man.

I’m used to the trusty rooster (which is great for everything), but this guy had at least six varieties of fresh potatoes with which he seemed intimately involved. He knew his spuds inside out. Not all spuds are equal when it comes to chipping or mashing, as I was informed and soon to be made aware:  He explained that there are waxy, starchy and all-purpose potatoes.  

Their colours vary from white to purple, depending on whether you’re having a Desiree or a Ruby Blue (which looked like a beetroot). There’s big ones, small ones, and middle-sized ones! I tasted most of them whilst I was there, but as we all know, there’s NOWHERE like Ireland for the trusty spud. It’s our favourite staple vegetable. We eat them boiled, fried, chipped, roasted, mashed on their own and mixed with other veggies, meat and fish. Although I could be taught a thing or two, no one can say that the love of the spud doesn't shine supremely in Ireland.

That trip to the market in Sydney inspired me, and so I decided to experiment with some spicy potato mixes.  While I was cooking a fairly saucy spinach and pork curry, I thought: why not combine the winning combo of herbs with the magic of the spud?  I decided that I wanted the potatoes to be dry in order to compliment the dish. I considered the best potential spices, varied the mixture as I went (using my nose as a guide), and energetically tossed the cut potatoes into the mix.  I then roasted them in the oven. The smell was nothing short of gorgeous, and the resulting potatoes were wonderful to eat.

A side dish worthy of the spud itself — easy, versatile and just damn tasty.

Here’s the recipe…

Spicy Roast Potatoes
Serves 4-6
Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 40 mins in oven
Active time: 10 mins

Serve with: any combo of meat / veg curries; fish; chicken; meat or vegetables.

What you need:

1 kg potatoes cut into large bite sized pieces (I used a combo of rooster and sweet potatoes but you can use your favourite type)
2 large red onions
2 g curry leaves  
 2 tsp chilli powder (I use roasted)
I tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
2 good glugs of oil


1.    Preheat oven to 180 degrees

2.    Peel and cube the potatoes

3.    Steam/boil the potatoes for 5-10 minutes until almost cooked 

4.    Meanwhile cut the onion and slice in half moons

5.    In a dish mix all the other ingredients so that you have a paste

6.    Toss with the potatoes

7.    Roast for 40 minutes until crisp

8.  Enjoy (and don't forget to Contact me with your feedback)