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Crispy Roasted Potatoes with Lemon, Garlic and Sage

September 5, 2010

Crispy Roasted Potatoes with Lemon, Garlic and Sage

There are roasted potatoes. And then there are crispy roasted potatoes. So when I discovered a new way to perk up some tubers, I was only to thrilled to try it out.  In addition to this method of treating the potatoes, the lemon-sage is something I’m pretty happy to discover (and use more often).

I had a big bagful of baby potatoes that I wanted to use up so I flipped through my favourite books for inspiration. What particularly caught my fancy was the one with lemon, garlic (surprise surprise!) and sage from the Ottolenghi cookbook.

While making these potatoes, I tried something new that would give me an even crispier outside. Are you ready for it? So here is what I did: I boiled the potatoes in salted water. Then cut them into half while still warm (you just might learn to juggle while doing this.) And then finally threw all the cut potatoes into a huge box (a bowl covered with a plate works just as well) and shook the whole thing up pretty vigorously. Of course, you need to make sure that you don’t boil the potatoes too much – just until a knife goes through without any resistance. A little more, and the potatoes will fall apart when you’re bashing them up. The point here is to bash up the potatoes a little so they get rough on the edges.  This way, they will get super, and I mean super crispy once they are done. And the inside? Soft and velvety – just like mashed potatoes. Hat tip: Molly and Matthew for introducing me to this method on their Crispy Potato podcast. Incidentally, Nigella Lawson is so proud of this method of hers that she’s included it in four of her cookbooks! Although she uses over 2 cups of goose fat (gasp).

Another thing that I like to do is to keep the potatoes in the oven for a slightly longer time than prescribed in the recipes. This too, helps in making it crispier.  These are excellent to make ahead of time as well. You can cook them fully and then just before serving, put them in the oven for ten minutes and they are good to gobble.

Go make them, you’re going to love it. And to suit your taste, you can add whatever spice or seasoning you like.

Crispy Roasted Potatoes with Lemon, Garlic and Sage

Inspired from: Ottolenghi Cookbook (USA | UK | India) and Nigella Lawson (USA | UK | India)

Yield: 4-6 servings


1kg / 2.2lbs new potatoes (if you’re using larger potatoes, you can cut them to the size you like)
4-6 cloves of garlic, chopped
50ml olive oil
2 tbsp roughly chopped sage
1 lemon
Salt and pepper


  1. Boil the potatoes in plenty of salted water. Pass a knife through it to check for doneness after 7-9 minutes. Longer, if you’re using larger potatoes.
  2. Once boiled, cut the potatoes into half lengthwise and transfer to a big box that will hold all the potatoes and still have additional room. Shake the box vigorously until the potatoes look smashed on the edges.
  3. Toss with garlic, olive oil, sage, juice of lemon, salt and pepper.
  4. Transfer to a roasting pan and layer the potatoes in a single layer.
  5. Roast the potatoes in the oven at 200C/390F for 30-40 minutes until crispy, golden and brown.
  6. Remove from the oven and serve immediately, perhaps with a sprinkling of chopped parsley.

Garlicky Hummus with Olive Oil Crackers

March 15, 2010

Garlicky Hummus with Olive Oil Crackers

Over the weekend I had this sudden craving for hummus. With a bottle of tahini paste on my kitchen shelf, and a box of beans soaked and reserved for chole masala, I got down to fulfill the sudden craving. I just love times like these when every thing that I need is within arm’s reach and/or doesn’t keep me waiting endlessly while it soaks, proves, rests, chills, or whatever not.

I pretty much eyeballed the hummus and kept adding flavour and seasoning as I went along. As for the olive oil crackers – I had bookmarked the recipe in the Ottolenghi cookbook when leafing through it, and making them with the hummus felt like the perfect opportunity.

Garlicky Hummus with Olive Oil Crackers

And when I was finally done making the hummus, I couldn’t stop dipping my finger into it for “one last lick”. I even packed a small box of it in the secret-handbag-compartment-that–the-security-lady-doesn’t-check when I went for a movie yesterday! If you heard a girl munching on crackers and filling the movie theatre with the smell of garlic, then I might know her. As for the crackers – they were just brilliant! I never thought that using baking powder instead of yeast would result in such an amazing, light, lavash-like cracker in a lot less time than lavash would! This recipe is a keeper.

Garlicky Hummus with Olive Oil Crackers


250g chickpeas, soaked, boiled and pureed with the water reserved from boiling
½ cup tahini paste
½ cup water
Juice of 1 lemon
6-8 cloves of garlic, minced
Extra virgin olive oil, to serve
Sumac, to serve (optional)

  1. In a large bowl, add the tahini paste, water and lemon juice and mix well until it forms a uniform paste. Add the minced garlic to it and mix it well.
  2. Now add the chickpea paste to the tahini sauce a little at a time, making sure everything gets incorporated evenly.
  3. In a plate, spoon the hummus and create a canal with the back of the spoon to hold the olive oil, as seen in the photograph.
  4. Sprinkle with sumac and serve with crackers.

Olive Oil Crackers

Adapted from: Ottolenghi Cookbook
Yield: 25 crackers

250g all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
115 ml water
25 ml olive oil
Freshly ground pepper (I used a mix of black, white and pink!)
Sea salt to taste
Coarse sea salt for garnish (I used pink Himalayan salt)
More olive oil for brushing

  1. Preheat oven to 220C.
  2. In a large bowl, or the bowl of a Kitchen Aid add the flour baking powder, water, olive oil, salt and pepper. Knead the dough for 5-6 minutes until it all comes together.
  3. Make walnut sized balls and roll them out as thinly as you can into long, oval shapes.
  4. Place the rolled out crackers on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with pink Himalayan salt (or sumac, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, za’atar, etc).
  5. Bake for 5-6 minutes, or until the crackers are golden brown in colour.
  6. Serve with the hummus!


Caramelised Corn with Fresh Mint

February 4, 2010
Minty caramelised corn
When anybody talks about corn, I’m all ears. Just given me corn, butter, salt and pepper and I can eat that for all my meals, but make sure there is lots of butter. I’m always on the lookout to have corn in a newer, more interesting way. So when I saw a mint corn recipe on The Wednesday Chef, it is anybody’s guess that I’d “Star” it in my feed reader.
While I still do not enjoy traveling by train to work, I’ve begun to focus on the silver lining. The good part about traveling by train is that there are some girls that will hop on to sell some extremely fragrant and fresh, local produce. So fresh, that you can smell the gorgeous mint at the other end of the train compartment! Plus along with this, you can catch some recipes and tips on mint usage being exchanged amongst the women, and if you’re a part of the click (knowing Marathi is mandatory for this), you can get your hands on the finished chuntey or minty chicken or mint and potato salad on the same train the next day. Funky setup.
Corn + Mint
As soon as I got my hands on a huge bunch of mint, I put aside a bowlful of it just for the minty corn recipe I’ve had at the back of my mind. I’ve never caramelised corn before, so this was a first for me. While it cooked, I loved to hear the corn popped and the whole kitchen smelled of buttery goodness. Try it, you’re going to love it. And if like me, you believe that mint and lemon is a match made in heaven, then add some lemon zest to the corn. It will smell spectacular.
Also, I added a teaspoon of sugar to the corn when it was cooking. I’m not sure where, but I read many years ago that adding sugar to corn brings out its natural sweetness. I’m yet to figure whether it’s actually true or an old wives’ tale. Have you heard of something like this?
Minty caramelised corn
Caramelised Corn with Fresh Mint
Serves: 3
Adapted from: The Wednesday Chef
15 oz fresh corn (you can use frozen as well)
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp sugar
6 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
  1. Cut the corn off the cob from 3-4 corn ears.You can use a knife or get yourself one of these funky things if you can get your hands on them.
  2. Wash, dry and chop up the mint leaves. 6 tablespoons looks like a lot, but it’s going to wilt with the steam from the corn.
  3. In a wide skillet, melt the butter over high heat. Add the corn  and sprinkle the sugar over it and cook, stirring often, until golden and browned (kernels may begin to pop), about 10 minutes. Stir in the mint and sprinkle with salt.  Make sure you add the mint right at the end – you don’t want it to cook with the mint, but simply infuse the fragrance from the leaves into the corn when it’s warm. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve while hot.
savory things

Mushrooms with Bacon and Sage

November 29, 2009
 Mushrooms with Bacon and Sage
I made these crazy delicious mushrooms last week.
Has a familiar ring to it? Even for my previous post (the marinated eggplants), it took me a whole week to get to posting the recipe.
Why, you ask? Of late I’m enjoying a little more of cooking over baking. Of late, I’m not taking too many photos of what I’m making, especially those of ingredients and in-between stages. Of late, it’s been more about cooking or baking on a whim rather than for blogging and I’m kinda enjoying it. But, one thing isn’t so much fun is posting something a week later. I don’t know why but it just isn’t as exciting as posting it on the same day or the next. Just so that I kick back into the blogging mood, I’m going to make sure December is a good month on The Purple Foodie. I’ve been thinking of some seriously decadent recipes to make you fat and happy this holiday season.
But you shouldn’t let my blogging lull come between you and these crazy delicious (very worth the repetition) mushrooms. So, when I had a pound of mushrooms waiting to be consumed, I leafed through the pages of some of my favourite books and voilà! I found inspiration in Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics.
When I saw sage, garlic and butter in the photo of the roasted butternut squash, I was convinced about trying this out with mushrooms. This recipe is very simple to make and I think the addition of bacon to this is just genius. And any recipe that uses a whole head of garlic is good in my books.
Mushrooms with Bacon and Sage
Serves: 2 hungry eaters or 4 otherwise.
Inspired from: Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics
1 lb / 450g button mushrooms
1 head of garlic, separated and the ends chopped off, but not peeled
2 oz. / 60g bacon, chopped
12-16 sage leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400F/200C.
  2. Clean the mushrooms with a tissue paper or a damp cloth and chop them into quarters.
  3. Place the mushrooms on a baking sheet and scatter garlic, sage leaves and bacon bits all over the sheet. Then drizzle with olive oil and dot with the 1 tbsp butter. Sprinkle the salt/pepper.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the mushrooms have browned. Also, the bacon fragrance has enveloped the house. (*big grin*)
  5. Serve in a plate. Dig in!

Marinated Aubergine with Garlic and Herbs

November 23, 2009
Marinated Eggplant

Did you miss me? I hope you did.

Let me tell you what I was upto – I was writing a chapter for 55 Knives. Erm, what’s that? That is an upcoming e-book that will feature some really, really awesome food bloggers, including Nicole of Pinch My Salt and Sprouted Kitchen. I was (and still am) beyond flattered to know I’m in such good company. So, through last week, I was writing, rewriting, editing and proof editing my chapter of 1200 words.

Now this should be easy because writing a chapter is like writing a long blog post, right? Wrong. Unlike blogging, where I can assume you already know me, I had to write this book for a reader who doesn’t know me at all. Plus, it was deadline work. And while I can write up a blog post in well under an hour, writing this chapter was a whole ‘nother ball game. I finally turned in my first draft on Friday. One week late (see, I told you I don’t like deadlines) – with much of a push from orangefoodie.

UPDATE – MAY 2010:The 55 Knives book is now available and selling wonderfully! And if you haven’t had enough of your eggplant cravings, you can read my recipe for Stuffed Eggplant on page 71 of the book along with a short story on my love for food and cooking. So get your copy of 55 Knives today!
In other news, my mango chutney has been featured on Saveur. So happy to be on their list! There will be some bigger, better news soon enough but I need to hold on to it for just a little bit.
Now let’s get to that gorgeous eggplant recipe, shall we?
Eggplant, yellow chilli, sweet marjoram and marinade
I have been leafing through the recipes in the Ottolenghi book ever since I got it, and every recipe looks absolutely stunning. With loads of garlic and lemon in most of the recipes, I think this book was written just for me. Given my recent fascination with eggplant, I tried the marinated eggplant recipe. And my, was it delicious – served with a garlicky tahini sauce, I loved it! My mom enjoyed it so much, she reserved some to take for lunch to work the next day.
I recently found a yellow chili plant at a local nursery which I used instead of the red chilies. And I substituted oregano with its milder cousin, sweet marjoram. Plus I used the awesome infusion technique I learned when I made the now-famous garlicky baked fries instead of simply plopping the garlic into the oil. Fantastic results!
Marinated Eggplant
Marniated Eggplant with Tahini Sauce
Serves: 4

1.5 lb. / 750g eggplants
Olive oil for brushing
Salt and pepper for seasoning
1 mild red chili or 3-4 mild yellow chilies
2 tbsp coriander/cilantro, finely chopped
2 tbsp sweet marjoram, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp coarse sea salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
Tahini Sauce:
1/3rd cup / 75g tahini paste
1/3rd cup / 75 ml water
3 tbsp / 40 ml lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, crushed
  1. Preheat oven to 220C/425F.
  2. Trim the eggplants; cut them into wedges such that each wedge has skin on it.
  3. Place the wedges in a roasting tray and brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake this for 15-18 minutes until they are golden brown and soft inside.
  4. For the marinade, heat 4 tbsp oil with the garlic until the garlic is fragrant and just begins to sizzle. Turn off the heat. Let this cool a little and then add the other ingredients and mix well.
  5. As soon as the eggplants come out of the oven, toss them with the marinade and let it sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving. You can refrigerate this for up to 2 days. Make sure to serve them at room temperature, though.
  6. For the tahini sauce, whisk together the tahini paste, water, lemon, garlic and salt thoroughly. The mixture should be smooth and creamy. If the mixture looks too thick then add a little more water by the teaspoon.
  7. Serve the tahini sauce with the eggplants.
BAKING breads

Garlicky Herb Twists

July 21, 2009
Garlicky Herb Twists

I love using stumble upon to discover new food blogs and recipes, and a few days ago when I was getting my regular dose of stumbling, I came upon a recipe for herb and garlic twisty bread that instantly made me sit up, take notice and mark it as a high priority baking item. With a name that has herb and garlic in it, who wouldn’t? I have got to admit, I have a thing for a recipe with garlic. Sometimes all I need to get convinced to try a recipe is to know that it had a good amount of garlic or maybe an interesting way to use garlic (remember the garlic infused oil in the baked fries? *swoon*). Don’t even get me started on roasted garlic; I could eat that for dessert.


This is one recipe that is so easy to put together. You can either use store bought pizza dough or make your own. The recipe calls for rosemary and thyme, but you can just as well use your favourite herbs. I usually don’t make the same thing twice (ah, the perils of food blogging), but I just had to make these a second time for two reasons: 1. the taste of the herby filling with garlic and parmesan was distinctively etched in my memory and 2.( ahem) the photos I took the first time weren’t quite up to the mark. I couldn’t not have these on my blog so I made these again!

Steps to making Garlicky Herb Twists

Some things I learnt while making this the second time:
  • A moist dough is always better – it resulted in such soft and pillowy bread as opposed to a very chewy one with a stiffer dough.
  • More parmesan is always a good thing.
  • You can sub your favourite seasoning mixture for the salt and pepper which makes it more likable.
  • Don’t be shy to use more than the prescribed amount of herbs.

I urge you to go ahead and make these. Don’t be surprised if you make a meal out it. Better still, serve it with your favourite garlicky dip and you’ll be in garlic heaven.

Garlicky herb Twists

Garlic Herb Bread Twists
Adapted from: Gourmet July 2009

1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (2 ounces), divided
Salt and pepper or your favourite seasoning blend
1/4 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 lb / 900g pizza dough, (or use store-bought)
1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F with racks in upper and lower thirds. Lightly oil 2 large (17- by 13-inch) baking sheets.
  2. Stir together rosemary, thyme, 1/4 cup cheese, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper in a small bowl.
  3. In a pan gently heat the olive oil and stir in the garlic until it just begins to sizzles. Turn off the heat immediately. Add 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper to it.
  4. Divide dough in half. Keeping half of dough covered with a kitchen towel, gently roll out other half into a 15- by 10-inch rectangle on a floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin.
  5. Sprinkle one half of dough with half of herb mixture, then fold dough in half crosswise from top to centre and then again from bottom to centre. Roll lightly to form a rectangle. Cut lengthwise into 9 strips (less than 1 inch wide) with a pizza wheel or a pastry scraper. Twist each strip from both ends and place on baking sheet, arranging twists 1 inch apart. Don’t worry too much if they flop back, you can just as well call them “rustic”. Next, brush with garlic oil and let stand while forming remaining bread twists.
  6. Repeat process with the second half of the dough.
  7. Bake bread twists, switching position of sheets halfway through, until golden (15-20 minutes total).
  8. Meanwhile, stir together parsley and remaining 3/4 cup cheese in a shallow baking pan.
  9. Immediately after baking, brush bread twists with remaining garlic oil, then roll in parsley and cheese until coated. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Garlicky Baked Fries

April 12, 2009

Garlicky Baked Fries


I’m never going to make garlic potato fries any other way.

These garlic fries, win hands down as the best garlic french fries I’ve ever made. Plus they are baked – so I won’t feel too guilty if I make it every time I’m craving for some potato comfort.

When I read that there is garlic infused oil involved, my heart skipped a beat (in a good way, not the way oil would otherwise treat your heart). I got down to making them immediately. I used extra virgin olive oil instead of vegetable oil because I just love the aroma that garlic and olive oil combine to impart. And added to potatoes while baking – how could it be anything short of perfect? I also used more garlic to make my fries extra garlicky!

Garlicky Baked Fries
crispy golden baked fries

These garlic fries are incredibly simple to make and are so full of flavour. They were gobbled down as soon as they were out of the oven. I had to hear a lot of “Take the photos next time!” and “Can I pick just one?” while I was trying to capture some shots of these crispy, golden babies.

Garlicky Baked Fries
crunchy potato skin

Garlic Fries
Adapted from: Lottie + Doof


8 garlic cloves, minced or grated
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 potatoes, each about 200g, cut into 12 wedges
3 tbsp cornstarch/cornflour
1 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Microplane for grating the garlic

Garlicky Baked Fries
warm and soft interior
  1. Preheat oven to 225°C/440° F.
  2. Combine the garlic and oil in a large bowl, warming it until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Transfer 5 tablespoons of the oil (leaving the garlic in the bowl) to the baking sheet, coating it well.
  4. Add the potatoes to the bowl with the garlic mixture and toss to coat. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and microwave on high power until the potatoes are translucent around the edges, 3 to 6 minutes, shaking the bowl to redistribute the potatoes halfway through cooking.
  5. Combine the cornstarch, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the hot potatoes and toss well to coat.
  6. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake, turning once, until deep golden brown and crisp, 30 to 40 minutes.
  7. Serve with ketchup, mayo or sour cream.

Update: Given that I do not like to use the microwave for cooking (I don’t even own one), and plastic cling wrap is a little scary to use, I have tried making these garlic fries by par-boiling the potatoes and then letting them steam dry by laying them in a single layer on kitchen napkin. I proceeded with step 5 and it turned out to be SO GOOD!