Coconut & Sambal author Lara Lee took a crispy, aromatic potato dish from East Java in Indonesia and made it endlessly recreatable in home kitchens all over. And—with apologies to other roasted potatoes—it's going to be very hard to turn back.
As Lara writes in Coconut & Sambal, “These versatile potatoes are impossibly crispy, and it’s a dish I love to serve as an impressive side alongside steaks at a summer barbecue or a Sunday roast. A stand-out accompaniment, the potatoes are roasted, then tossed with stir-fried spring onions and then drizzled with a rich soy dressing that is sharpened by the acidic hit of vinegar. In the same way that vinegar can make the crunchiest of chips go a little soggy, my soy and vinegar dressing has the same effect, so dress the potatoes only when you are ready to serve them.”
A few more tips: If you don’t have a heavy-bottomed roasting pan and need to use a lightweight roasting pan or sheet pan, add the garlic along with the potatoes to prevent them from burning. You can also consider doubling up your sheet pan to mimic a heavier pan, but still add the garlic later. When you shake the pan, don’t go too wild—you want to make sure the shaggy coating stays on the potatoes to crisp up and doesn't fly off. If you have any leftover potatoes, they will absorb the dressing but still re-crisp nicely in a nonstick pan with a little oil.
Recipe adapted slightly from Coconut & Sambal: Recipes from my Indonesian Kitchen (Bloomsbury Publishing, October 2020).
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- Prep time 20 minutes
- Cook time 45 minutes
- Serves 4 to 6 as a side
sunflower oil, for roasting
large whole garlic bulb, halved widthways
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
2 1/2 pounds
(1.2kg) floury potatoes (such as Maris Piper or Russet), skin on and cut into 1 1/2–inch (4cm) chunks
- Stir-Fried Scallions & Soy Dressing
scallions, chopped into 1-inch (3cm) chunks
garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
inches (12cm) ginger (about 60 grams), peeled and cut into long, thin matchsticks
rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
light soy sauce
- Heat the oven to 425°F. Pour the oil into a very large, heavy-bottomed roasting tray with the garlic bulb halves and a generous sprinkle of salt. Place the roasting tray in the oven to heat.
- Put the potatoes into a large pan and cover with cold water. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain the potatoes, then return them to the pan to steam for 2 minutes. As the potatoes are steaming, shake the pan to rough up their edges for maximum crispiness.
- Remove the hot roasting tray from the oven and carefully spoon the potatoes into the pan in a single layer, being careful not to overcrowd the tray. Toss the potatoes in the hot oil until they are fully coated, then season generously with salt and pepper. Roast for about 45 minutes, until golden and crispy, turning the potatoes over halfway to ensure even roasting. If the garlic bulbs get to a deep golden brown before the potatoes, remove the garlic from the pan and set aside until the potatoes are done.
- In the last 10 minutes of the cooking time, prepare the stir-fried scallions and the soy dressing: Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and add the spring onions, garlic and ginger. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until fragrant and just beginning to soften, then remove from the heat. To make the dressing, mix the vinegar and soy sauce in a small bowl and set aside.
- Once golden, toss the potatoes with the spring onion, garlic and ginger, then drizzle with the vinegar and soy dressing. Serve immediately.