We’re exploring the humble but versatile potato, battata (Arabic) or aloo (Hindi/Urdu) on this podcast episode. Two die-hard potato fans on our team, Farida (@faridaa) and Stephanie (@everydayfeasts), share fun historical facts and regional recipes. We also look at interesting dips beyond ketchup that you can pair with your fries!
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**Quick note on potato tahdig: As promised on the episode, we’re sharing an update on this delicious Persian rice recipe here. As Stephanie correctly mentioned, you don’t need to preboil the potatoes for a potato tahdig. Najmieh Batmanglij, in her book Food of Life, shares a recipe which involves slicing Russet potatoes into 1/4-inch thick rounds and placing them on the bottom of a pot that has been greased with water, oil and a few drops of saffron water. Interestingly, she recommends not washing the potatoes to retain the potato starch needed to bind the crust together.
Some Fun Potato Facts
Farida, our resident bookworm, shares some additional fun potato facts!
- Ancient Incans used potatoes for other things apart from food—like healing broken bones and measuring time based on how long a potato took to cook.
- The first time french fries appeared in the USA were allegedly at a diplomatic dinner hosted by President Thomas Jefferson.
- In 1995, potatoes were the first vegetable grown in space—Quantum Tubers ™ .
- Potatoes and tomatoes are close cousins, with both belonging to the nightshade family. The potato and sweet potato bear no kinship.
- A TomTato or Pomato features stem grafting that allows for tomatoes and potatoes to be grown on the same plant.
- Potatoes are 80% water.
- Beauty mavens claim that rubbing potato slices (sometimes blending it into a mask with other ingredients such as rosewater, honey, olive oil) can help skin glow. The antioxidants, vitamin C and starch present in potatoes can even help acne, blemishes and wrinkles.