Tamarind-Garlic Mashed Potatoes

A Special 2nd Anniversary Blog Entry by Hubby-Face

(2nd Anniversary of our marriage, not this blog…)

The best mashed potatoes ever madeHello, world. Or, to be more precise: Hi, moms. This is The Husband writing; because Jackie loved my recent mashed potatoes experiment so much, she demanded politely and lovingly requested that I write a blog entry on Rarely Fancy all about ‘em.

Firstly, some shout-outs: this recipe would not have been possible without our (early) anniversary gift from my folks: a Good GripTM masher from OXO. I also learned all I know (and some I don’t consciously know, but have absorbed via osmosis) about spuds from the master chef, my old man. So, doubly thanks, Pops.

Pot o' delicious mashed potatoesI noticed when I made “mashed” the last time (a variety so full o’dill, I quipped: “You ain’t seen this much Dill since The Rugrats, baby”) that my wife loved it with sour cream. So, this time, in lieu of sour cream, and perhaps fulfilling the subtitle of this blog more than the title, I attempted a purely original and exotic concoction that contains the combined creaminess, bite, and sourness of this combo. Let’s just say: I hit it out of the park.

What you’ll need:

Close to 2 lbs. Potatoes (Jackie got a 28-oz. Bag of Gold Fingerlings)

3 oz. Tamarindo (aka tamarind) pods (these can be tricky to find: try Whole Foods, or Market District, or [Other Brand Name Drop Here])

Plenty o’water, both for potatoes and tamarind

1-2 cloves of garlic, peeled and grated (it’s OK if there are some big chunks, particularly if you have a garlic-loving spouse)

~1/4 C. “cream cheese”*

~1/4 C. “butter”*

Optional: Packet of (garlic) instant mashed potatoes, for consistency’s sake

Optional Incidental Music if you go with the Gold Fingerlings: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to Goldfinger (get it?), preferably on vinyl (UAS 5117)

*N.B.: Instead of real butter, I used 1/4 C. SmartBalance, but retained the 1/4 C. of real cream cheese—those of you watching your fat content might want to substitute a low(er)-fat version of both cream cheese and butter in the recipe.

What to do:

I.    Do not question the tamarind. This is what gives the dish the shockingly satisfying & complex punch right to the mouth (see pic at end of post).

II.  The tamarind pods take a long time to set up. Give yourself at least 90 min. before preparing the potatoes. Perhaps you out in Internet Land have experience working with these pods from another world. The first time I sampled this sweet-‘n-sassy flavor was in the Caribbean this summer (thanks to Cap’n Ed & First Mate Ellen, my in-laws!). I had no idea that the taste came from what look like extraterrestial legumes. I adapted the below prep from my students’ most reliable source of information on how to construct a bibliography, Ehow: http://www.ehow.com/how_8706150_prepare-tamarind-seed-pods.html

Tamarind guts and seedsa.      Get rid of the shell and “the nervous system” (stems surrounding the “meat”) of these creatures—pictured here:

b.     Place the sticky, muscly “meat” of the pods in only enough water to cover them.

c.     Bring only to medium heat for 5 minutes, or until pods get “fuzzy” in the water.

d.     Let sit (covered) for at least 90 min., preferably 2 hours—at the tail end of this time, you can move on to potatoes (instructions in III).

e.     Place colander above a bowl and pour pods and all the water in colander.

f.      Using your handy-dandy masher or handier hands, pound these suckers down, getting all the pulpy juice you can with limited amount of tamarind “guts”—and obviously, not the seeds of the pods!

Tamarind Gutsg.     Throw the crap (“guts” and seeds) in the colander out—see picture:

h.     If you used the masher in step f, wash that off before proceeding.

III.  Potato time—here’s where it gets traditional (i.e., Western [i.e., boring]):

a.     Slice the potatoes, preferably leaving the skins on.

b.     Place sliced potatoes in enough water to cover them, maybe a little more.

c.     Boil them spuds—then continue heating on med- or med-high heat for 20-25 minutes, or until tender.

d.     Towards the tail end of this, place “cream cheese”* in microwavable container and microwave for 10-15 seconds to soften.

IV.  Let our powers combine!

a.     Drain potatoes over large colander, then place them back in the pot.

b.     Place your “tamarind juice,” softened “cream cheese,”* and “butter”* in the pot.

c.     Do the mash! (This is where “Bond Back in Action Again” [side 1, cue 4] on the record will really help.)

V.  Adjust, as needed

a.     Depending on how much water you used with your tamarinds, you might need to “beef up” that consistency a little with instant mashed potatoes—I found that I needed an ounce or two to get it just right.

Me eating the mashed potatoes with Greek Yogurtb.     Optional: serve with fat-free or 2% Greek yogurt if you really must have that sour cream feel on your palate, and/or simply to copy a certain blog authoress pictured here:

VI.   Reap Compliments

a.     Example: “The Best Mashed Potatoes I’ve Ever Had” (Jackie Greenfield, 8/13/13)


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