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Potato “Galettes” with Chutney

June 24, 2011
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I’m in Paris right now, visiting Hélène’s friends and family. She had a potluck last night and I made these little potato cakes, based on a delicious appetizer we had at a restaurant in Sligo when we were in Ireland last week. No one was really sure what to call them in English so they ended up being “galettes”…I was a bit unconvinced by this term, but I think that’s just Quebec French taking over. In France, a galette is basically any kind of flat crispy cake, sweet or savoury, so the name fits quite well!

As with the Black Bean Burgers, the trick here is to get the galettes to hold together in your hand and thus, in the pan. The secret here is minimal liquids and trust that even if your dough looks a bit crumbly, it will do a lot better than a thinner batter.

Potato Galettes

1 can chickpeas, mashed with a fork or potato masher (I find a food processor doesn’t work as well here because you don’t want to add any liquid at this point – it’s okay if the chickpeas are still crumbly)

2 small to medium potatoes (not russet), finely diced
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
Boil water and add all three ingredients. Cook the potatoes until just tender (not falling apart).

1/2 cup or so of corn
1/2 onion, finely minced
1 tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
Other Indian spices (coriander, cumin, garam masala, etc.) to taste
Optional: Cilantro, chili flakes or cayenne, other vegetables including peas, broccoli or cauliflower florets, diced carrots, etc.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

This is the part where getting the right texture comes in. It’s good to add a tiny bit of liquid so that the mixture isn’t completely crumbly – you want it to come together enough to successfully hold in the ‘bits and pieces’ (potatoes, corn, etc.) but again, not too thin that it will spread in the pan rather than form cakes. I used:

Approximately 1/2 of a beaten egg (luckily I was also baking bread and used the other half to brush the loaves!)
3-6 tbsp flour – add this one heaping spoonful at a time and mix well, then test the dough by forming a small cake in your hands. If it’s too crumbly, add a tiny bit more egg. If it’s too sticky or can’t form a shape, add more flour.

Heat the pan to just over medium. Form small cakes with your hands and cook on each side in a bit of vegetable oil until browned. You can keep them warm in the oven until it’s time to serve, or reheat later (this makes them a great potluck item!)

Options for Toppings:
Mango chutney or a few slices of fresh mango
Mint chutney
Cilantro (fresh leaves or blended into a sauce with water, lime and spices)
Lemon chutney
Eggplant pickle
Yogurt with a few dashes of garam masala and a tiny bit of salt
Tamarind sauce

I used a mysterious fruit melange chutney and the yogurt mixture – delicious!

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