Perfect Peruvian Purple Potatoes

Crispy on the outside, hot and tender on the inside.

And so the saga of the mighty potato continues! Now, with this 13th installment I make crispy little nuggets of Peruvian purple potatoes, which are small, gorgeous, starchy, and utterly delicious spuds. Because of their violet color, they contain the flavonoid anthocyani, which is a vital antioxidant, making the “purps” at least a little more valuable healthwise than a white potato. Of course after I fry them, some of that health benefit is undoubtedly eradicated.

This recipe is very similar to my recipe for crispy potato wedges, in that both involve boiling the potato until mostly cooked through, dusting them with a little seasoned starch, and then finishing them in hot oil. The thin coating of starch makes for a very crisp but shatteringly thin exterior. For cooking fats I used a combination of peanut oil and rendered chicken fat (schmaltz) which I buy at a kosher butcher, but honestly use any oil you want that can handle high heat — corn, rice bran, plain ole vegetable oil are all good.

I love the stunning purpleness of these little Peruvians!

I started with a pound of small purple potatoes and peeled stripes from the skin. I like leaving half of the skin on for nutritional purposes, flavor, and textural differences. I then cut each potato into rounds about 2/3 of an inch thick.

I put the potato pieces into a pot with cold water to cover a couple of inches. I brought them to a boil over high, reduced the heat to medium-low, and then simmered them for about ten minutes until they were fork tender.

While the purps boiled, I made my starch coating. I used potato starch, which can be found in Asian markets or the kosher section of your supermarket. Potato starch creates an amazingly crisp exterior, although corn starch or all-purpose flour make decent substitutes. For this batch I used 1/3 cup of potato starch, which I seasoned with a 1/2 teaspoon of Lawry’s seasoning, some black pepper, a little garlic powder, and pinch of celery salt. I whisked the spices into the starch.

When the spuds were tender but not falling apart, I drained them well and laid them out on a sheet pan. Using a small fine-meshed strainer, I sifted the seasoned starch over the potatoes to coat lightly. I then flipped the potatoes around to coat them all over evenly with the starch. I let them cool down and set up my fryer.

Boil them purps for about ten minutes.

Set up a countertop fryer or a big pot with your choice of oil (fats) to 375 degrees F. Fry the purple potato nuggets until golden brown and crisp, perhaps six minutes. Drain and season with a little salt.

These beautiful babies were scrumptious!

Earlier Episodes of the Potato Chronicles:

Buttery Boiled Baby Red Potatoes:
http://www.spencerhgray.com/2011/11/buttery-boiled-red-potatoes-with-herbs.html
Mashed Potatoes:
http://www.spencerhgray.com/2011/10/mashed-potatoes-potato-chronicles-pt-11.html
Sweet Potato Chips:
http://www.spencerhgray.com/2011/10/sweet-pototo-chips-with-pink-salt.html
Crispy Hash Brown Cake with Provolone:
http://www.spencerhgray.com/2011/10/crispy-hash-brown-cake-with-provolone.html
Potatoes Dauphinoise:
http://www.spencerhgray.com/2011/09/gratin-dauphinoise.html
Pommes Anna:
http://www.spencerhgray.com/2011/09/perfect-pommes-anna-is-awesomely.html
Potato Wedges:
http://www.spencerhgray.com/2011/09/crispy-potato-wedges.html
French Fries:
http://www.spencerhgray.com/2011/09/pommes-frites-french-for-french-fries.html
Potato Chips:
http://www.spencerhgray.com/2011/09/light-crispy-homemade-potato-chips.html
Tater Tots:
http://www.spencerhgray.com/2011/08/homemade-tater-tots-yep.html
Garlic & Lemongrass Home Fries:
http://www.spencerhgray.com/2011/06/crispy-garlic-lemongrass-home-fries.html
Baked Mashed Potato Casserole:
http://www.spencerhgray.com/2011/04/pommes-regina.html

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