Spiced Potato Cakes

December 19, 2013

Each Thursday, Emily Vikre (a.k.a fiveandspice) will be sharing a new way to love breakfast -- because breakfast isn't just the most important meal of the day. It's also the most awesome.

Today: Potatoes can be whatever you want them to be. 

Potato cakes from Food52

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Potatoes are such a friendly food. They’re like the old friend you don’t get to see often, but when you do you fall to chatting like no time has passed. Or like your favorite worn-out pair of jeans. They’re warm, they're comfortable, and they can take whatever you throw at them -- and in the case of potatoes, this includes a wide range of herbs and spices.

Potato cakes from Food532

I’ve been making my leftover mashed potatoes into potato pancakes for breakfast for as long as I’ve been cooking both potatoes and breakfast for myself. I guess I’ve been channeling Bert Greene all this time. In that time, I’ve taken the opportunity to tuck all sorts of flavorings into the cakes. Sometimes I go for the easy, pleasing rosemary or chives. Sometimes I feel fancy and I add truffle oil. This week, I was feeling spicy, so I added a whole bunch of cumin, coriander, turmeric, and hot paprika.  

What I wound up with is something a little reminiscent of the filling of a samosa or of aloo tikki -- maybe next time I’ll add peas -- with a pleasant egginess because I like to use a high egg-to-potato ratio to make something of a batter for frying. The cardinal rule of breakfast is: if you can add yogurt or an egg to it, it can be breakfast. (If you can’t, that doesn’t necessarily mean it can’t be breakfast, though.) These cakes are good with either. Add a yogurt sauce if you’re feeling saucy, a fried egg if you’re feeling egg-y. Potatoes can take it.  

Spiced potato cakes from Food52

Spiced Potato Cakes 

Serves 4 to 6

1 1/2 pounds potatoes, left whole and unpeeled (so they don't get waterlogged while cooking) or 4 cups leftover mashed potatoes
2 large cloves of garlic, smashed to a paste
2 heaping teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon hot paprika (use less if you're spicy-breakfast averse)
2 teaspoons salt
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon butter, plus lots more for frying
Plain yogurt mixed with your choice of herbs plus lemon juice for serving, or fried eggs, or chutney, or any other sauce you want 

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here. 

Photos by Emily Vikre

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I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (, where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.

1 Comment

Fairmount_market December 20, 2013
Sounds delicious with all the spices!