This is another recipe from my favourite vegetarian cook, Anna Jones. Of course, I have once again taken a few liberties with her original recipe and tweaked it to make it more to my taste. Now Anna suggests eating these for breakfast but I would find it far too hearty for first thing in the morning though it made a very tasty lunch for a few hungry cyclists. The potato cakes are not particularly spicy as they embrace the deep, fragrant flavours of southern India. But feel free to make it spicier if that’s your bag!
It’s a great way of using up some left overs and, though I’ve yet to try it, I think you could happily substitute other root vegetables for the mashed potato. I didn’t have any left-overs, instead I baked four large potatoes and opened a small jar of pre-cooked lentils. I love that the potato cakes are topped with mashed, spiced avocado – I eat this on toast for breakfast/lunch/dinner several times a week. Don’t omit the cucumber pickle. It’s so easy to make and really makes the dish.
Ingredients (serves 4)
FOR THE POTATO CAKES
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tbsp black mustard seeds
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 10 dried curry leaves
- 4 large potatoes, baked, potato removed and coarsely mashed, or 4 big spoons of leftover mash
- 4 tbsp cooked puy lentils
- handful fresh spinach leaves, washed and dried
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
FOR THE SMASHED AVOCADO
- 1 large ripe avocados, halved
- juice of 1⁄2 unwaxed lemon
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- sea salt to taste
FOR THE QUICK CUCUMBER PICKLE
- 1⁄2 hot house cucumber, halved and thinly sliced into ribbons
- 1 tsp coriander seeds, bashed in a pestle and mortar
- a pinch of sugar
- grated zest and juice of 1⁄2 an unwaxed lemon
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1. Heat tsp of coconut oil on a medium heat and fry the onion until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the mustard seeds and stand back while they merrily pop.
2. With the pan still on the heat, add the turmeric and curry leaves and fry for another minute or so, then put the whole lot into a bowl to cool slightly.
3. Add the mashed potato and lentils to the cooled onions, then season and mix well. Wash the spinach, then wilt it in a hot pan before adding this to the potato mixture. Divide the mixture into 4 portions, shape them into 4 fat potato cakes and put them into the fridge to chill.
4. In another bowl, mash the avocados with the lemon juice and spices, then season well.
5. To make your pickle, put the sliced cucumber into a bowl and add all the other pickle ingredients. Using your hands, scrunch the cucumber slices to get the flavours going.
6. Put the frying pan back on the heat. Take the potato cakes out of the fridge, flatten them slightly and fry them gently in rest of the coconut oil for about 2–3 minutes on each side, until warmed through and crispy brown.
7. Serve each potato cake topped with a spoonful of smashed avocado and a spoonful of pickle. Yummy!