Melange: How to...

Rethinking mashed potatoes

Manu Chandra, Executive Chef and Partner, Olive Beach, Bangalore, Monkey Bar and LikeThatOnly, shows us how to make the perfect mash

I’ve often heard in conversations that centre around restaurants and their menus, talks of how good their mashed potatoes are. In an almost similar refrain I’ve also heard people say that the potatoes they make at home are never quite the same.

In the following steps I attempt to demonstrate and demystify what I consider a very good mash. I chanced upon this process by accident (a happy one I might add) and have happily adopted it into the restaurant’s repertoire. The first step may seem tedious, but you’ll realize that it’s actually quite simple. It is after all for the sake of those restaurant-style mash puds.

Before I begin with the process, let me explain how the cooking of a potato works. Potatoes are essentially starchy tubers, and one needs to learn to exploit the starchiness to coax out that creamy goodness. The downside with the starch in potatoes upon cooking them is that they rapidly start breaking down into sugars (starch in potatoes is a complex carbohydrate, which essentially means that its sugars are tightly bonded together), and that effect is only hastened when they are over mixed or whipped. Often this results in gummy or gluey mash, which is as unpleasant to eat as it is to look at.

What we want is fluffy potatoes - a joy to eat!

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