Cooking potatoes – how it works step by step
The potato imported by the Spaniards in the 16th century originally comes from Chile and Peru and is now one of the most important staple foods in kitchens around the world. This is probably because potatoes can be prepared tasty and that the great tuber can be varied with many different dishes. There are also countless types of preparation. The potatoes can be cooked in several ways; cook or steam with or without a dish. Mashed potatoes are also a pleasure – as well as fried potatoes or, of course, as French fries.
In this article we show how to properly cook potatoes. We look at different types of preparation and give tips for tasty and correct preparation. One thing should be said in advance: Cooking potatoes or preparing them in a tasty way is very easy. There are only a few things to keep in mind.
We start with information on different types of potatoes, because each method of preparation ideally requires the right type of potato. One thing can be said in advance: they almost always fit “predominantly boiling” Potato varieties. Then we continue with the correct preparation of boiled potatoes and jacket potatoes. We also go into steaming potatoes.
Different types of potatoes
1. Mainly hard-boiled potatoes
“Predominantly stuck” Potatoes are suitable for many potato dishes because their consistency lies exactly between firm-boiling and more floury potato varieties. They are suitable, for example, for the preparation of boiled potatoes or jacket potatoes. Fried potatoes, French fries or grated cakes are also a pleasure with predominantly hard-wearing varieties. Mainly hard-boiled potato varieties have a higher starch content of 15%. That is why they turn brown when baking and deep-frying and remain soft and loose on the inside.
2. Cooking potatoes
This variety has firm flesh. If the waxy potato is cooked, it remains quite firm. When roasting or deep-frying, this variety only turns a little brown. The hard-boiling potato is suitable for fried potatoes, potato salad or even boiled potatoes.
3. Mealy potatoes
Floury potato varieties are quite soft in consistency and have a higher starch content. Because they are softer, they disintegrate very quickly when cooking. The flesh is a bit dry after cooking and the floury potato can be chopped up well because it practically falls apart by itself. Therefore, the floury potato is very suitable for mashed potatoes, but croquettes and gnocchi can also be ideally made with floury varieties.
Cooking boiled potatoes – how it works
Both are suitable for boiled potatoes “predominantly boiling” as well as the “fixed boiling” Potato varieties. They stay nice and firm when cooking and do not disintegrate so quickly. The type and quality of the potato is always stated on the label of the potato packaging.
How are potatoes peeled??
01 For boiled potatoes, the potatoes are first of all peeled off. This works best with a peeler or a potato peeler. Inexperienced people get along better with a peeler, while practiced potato peelers are quicker with a knife. Peel the skin of the potato as thinly as possible.
02 potatoes cut in half or quarter: The potato pieces of the boiled potatoes should be as large as possible. In addition, more potatoes fit in the pot if you halve them or even quarter large potatoes.
03 The peeled and divided potatoes immediately Place in a pot or bucket filled with fresh water. The peeled potatoes dry out very quickly in the air. It also washes away the starch that escapes from the potato.
04 Prepare a sufficiently large saucepan and put the washed potatoes in the saucepan.
05 Pour fresh water into the pot. Choose the water level so that it is slightly lower than the potatoes. So the potatoes should still be a little out of the water “look out”.
When and how are potatoes salted?
06 Now salt is added. For a whole pot, take two to four pinches of salt – or a tablespoon. Here you should try if necessary, because no two pots are alike. In the end it depends on how much water and how much potato pieces are in the pot. The water should not be too salty. It is enough to put the salt on top of the potatoes. It spreads itself in the water during cooking.
07 Bring the water to the boil at full heat and continue to simmer over medium heat. A lid should be on the pot. When the water boils, move the lid so that it does not completely cover the pot and some water vapor can escape.
How long do potatoes have to cook?
08 After about 10 to 12 minutes, prick the potatoes with a fork for the first time and see if they are done. This is called cooking rehearsal. Boiled potatoes usually have to be cooked for around 15 minutes. Depending on the size of the pieces, the cooking time can also be 20 minutes. If you are unsure when pricking in whether the potatoes are cooked, you can also take out a piece of potato, cut it up on a cutting board and try it – but be careful: hot!
09 When the potatoes are cooked, they can be taken off the stove. The water is now poured off. The best thing is the lid half Leave on and place a folded kitchen towel on top of the pot against the hot steam. With your hands protected by the towel, drain the water over the sink. Alternatively, you can also put on oven gloves to avoid burning yourself.
10 Place the poured potatoes on the stove again and let them evaporate. The remaining water evaporates and the boiled potatoes are prevented from becoming watery.
11 The boiled potatoes are now ready and can be served directly from the pot on the plate.
Jacket potatoes are cooked in their skins. The bowl is first removed from the plate or even eaten. Jacket potatoes are often eaten with herb curd. But they are also very suitable for fried potatoes. For jacket potatoes, hard-boiling potato varieties are best suited. In addition, potatoes that are as young as possible are used for jacket potatoes because they have a very thin skin. This can then be eaten with ease and is also very tasty. If older potatoes are used for jacket potatoes, it is advisable to peel them after cooking and not to eat the skin.
01 For jacket potatoes, the unpeeled potatoes must be washed thoroughly before preparation. Earth and dirt should be removed with a brush if necessary. Make sure to use potatoes of the same size and relatively small size for the jacket potatoes. The potatoes are not halved or quartered before cooking, but boiled whole. For this reason, too, it is advisable to use small and young potatoes.
02 Prepare a saucepan and add the potatoes. The pot should be big enough and the potatoes should have enough space in it.
03 Fill up with fresh cold water. Choose the water level so that it is slightly lower than the potatoes. So the potatoes should still be a little out of the water “look out”.
04 Add salt. You can still salt a little more generously than with peeled potatoes. The same applies here: use around a tablespoon of salt for a pot of potatoes. Depending on the size of the potatoes and the pot, or the amount of water, you can also use a little more salt.
05 Place the pot on the stove and bring to a boil. Place the pan lid on the pan first.
06 Simmer over medium heat. After about 10 to 12 minutes, prick the potatoes with a fork for the first time and see if they are cooked (cooking test). Jacket potatoes usually have to be cooked for around 15 minutes.
07 If the jacket potatoes are cooked, also pour off the water as described for the boiled potatoes. Make absolutely sure not to burn your fingers. Let the potatoes evaporate in the pot.
08 Jacket potatoes can usually be eaten with a skin, so that young potatoes with a thin skin are used. You can also peel them on the plate. To do this, cut the jacket potatoes on the plate and easily remove the peel with a fork.
A delicious herb quark tastes best with jacket potatoes. There is also ready-made potato cream to buy. Sour Cream also goes great with jacket potatoes!
Steam the potatoes
Steaming potatoes is a very gentle method of preparation. Vitamins and other nutrients are preserved more when steaming than when cooking. While the potatoes lie in the boiling water in conventional cooking, they are gently cooked by the rising steam when steamed and thus only come into indirect contact with the water. Steaming potatoes or other vegetables is pretty easy. You don’t need a steamer. A steaming insert for a pot is sufficient. Steaming inserts are usually made of metal and look like a sieve, which you put in the pot or hang. The water boils in the bottom of the pot, while the potatoes lie in the sieve and cook. In addition to metal sieves, there are also bamboo steaming inserts.
01 Peel potatoes or steam them with skin: the choice is yours. Steaming potatoes with their skins preserves more nutrients and vitamins. However, be sure to use young potatoes with a thin skin and in any case wash the potatoes thoroughly before cooking and clear them of dirt.
02 First, large potatoes can be cut in half. Simply use a potato peeling knife and cut the potato in half.
03 Rinse the potatoes briefly under running water and put them in a saucepan with fresh water.
04 Prepare a pot with a sieve insert. Sieve inserts for pots are made of different materials. Sieve inserts are usually made of stainless steel, but they are also made of bamboo, for example.
05 Now add fresh water to the pot – until it is ready for use. There must be no water in the strainer.
06 Place the potatoes in the sieve insert and distribute them evenly. Put the lid on the pot and close it with it.
07 Bring the water to a boil. As soon as the water boils, reduce to medium heat. The rising steam dampens and cooks the potatoes gently and evenly.
08 The potatoes have to be steamed for 20 to 30 minutes. Leave the lid on the pan, otherwise the steam will escape and the potatoes can no longer be steamed.
09 After 20 minutes, make the cooking test (of course, remove the lid for a short time). Prick the steamed potatoes with a potato peeler or fork or take out a potato and cut it up.
Cook the potatoes in the microwave
Cook the jacket potatoes in the microwave
01 Use potatoes from the microwave that are as small and as large as possible for the jacket potatoes.
02 Wash the potatoes thoroughly and place them in a bowl suitable for the microwave. Put a lid on the bowl or put a plate on top of the bowl.
03 Put the covered bowl of potatoes in the microwave.
04 Cook the potatoes at 600 watts. Choose a cooking time of one minute for each small potato. Ten small potatoes have to cook in the microwave at 600 watts for about 10 minutes.
05 Take the bowl out of the microwave and carefully remove the lid or plate. Be careful because you could burn yourself on the rising steam. Possibly. use a towel or glove.
What should you generally consider when cooking?
- If possible, the potatoes should be the same size so that everyone is cooked at the same time.
- Just add enough water that the potatoes are just covered.
Tips & tricks
- To determine whether the potatoes are cooked, simply prick them into them with a thin fork or a knife. When they are done, they slide easily off the knife or fork. The approximate cooking time is 12 to 15 minutes – depending on the size and type of potato
- You can also add caraway seeds to the potatoes for a better taste.
- When steamed, the potatoes are cooked faster and vitamins C and B1 are retained.
- Depending on the dish, you can also add spices while cooking.
[The picture is from Paul and Jill – via Flickr – thank you very much]
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