Though my year-round Pad Thai addiction has gotten considerably better since the wellness project, the time that my internal takeout monster is most likely to rear its ugly head is right after Thanksgiving.
For starters, I’m so over cooking. And after a few meals of exercising the microwave start button, I am subsequently so over turkey. And gravy. And American homesteading food in general. What I crave is the polar opposite. Exotic things like stir fried pork and green beans, sesame noodles, Vietnamese pho, or chicken tikka masala.
Because I am the type of depression-era housewife who uses a tea bag twice so as to not be wasteful, usually, the massive amounts of leftovers in my fridge does force me to pick up a skillet instead of a phone to get dinner. When I do, it’s usually one of these ethnic specialties I whip up. The stir-fried pork reinvents the green beans, sesame or peanut sauce disguises the honey-glazed root vegetables, and all that bland boring turkey gets new life in ginger anise-flavored broth or creamy cumin-seed studded tomato ragu. As for the leftover mashed potatoes, usually those become some sort of pancake or croquette. Only, I’ve now invented the ultimate Indian-spiced alias: samosa-style potato cakes.
A few months ago, Thanksgiving came early when Charlie made dinner and went a little overboard on the mashed potato front. I dutifully ate the leftovers for lunch, but on day three they were just a little too dried out to be appetizing. So in another moment of fridge-induced gut guilt, I repurposed the potato scraps into these samosa patties using a little help from my spice rack and a bag of frozen peas.
If you’re the same type of hoarder that I am, these ingredients should be easily at the ready, but if you’re missing a spice or two, these patties will survive with a little improvisation. Or, at least, they will survive better than you might if forced into the dark wilderness of Black Friday shopping centers to pick up any additional jars.
Since you’re essentially pan-frying samosa filling (i.e. making naked or crustless samosas), these little cakes are gluten-free. But if you find them too flimsy when flipping, you can bulk up the batter with a handful of breadcrumbs and a beaten egg. As is, this recipe is vegan, which after Thanksgiving, I find to be a big plus. And a trip to the oven is usually enough to get the patties a little firmer.
Don’t skip the ginger scallion yogurt sauce! (Unless you are for reals vegan). It’s the perfect cooling compliment to these samosa-style leftover mashed potato cakes, and a little more gut bacteria will probably do you good during these heavy holiday table times.
Wishing you all a wonderful and restful holiday with your families. If you have any last minute cooking questions, the FMP emergency hotline will be open for business! Feel free to email me or leave a comment below. I’m not cooking this year, so it would make my day to do so vicariously through you if you find yourself in a panic/pinch.
From one healthy, leftover-loving hedonist, to another,
Samosa-Style Leftover Mashed Potato Cakes with Ginger-Scallion Yogurt
- 1 tablespoon unrefined extra-virgin coconut oil or ghee, plus more for frying
- 1 bunch scallions, finely sliced, divided
- 3 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger root, divided
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds, or 1 teaspoon ground
- 3 cups mashed potatoes (see note)
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- Sea salt
- 1/3 cup full-fat plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- In a medium nonstock skillet, heat the oil. Saute half of the scallions, 2 teaspoons ginger, and the garlic, mustard seeds, turmeric, garam masala, and cumin until fragrant, 2 minutes. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl and fold in with the potatoes, peas and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Using an ice cream scoop, portion the potato mixture into a dozen two-inch patties.
- Heat a thin layer of oil in a large skillet until it glistens. Add as many samosa patties as will fill (you will probably need to do two batches) and pan-fry until golden brown on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Use two spatulas or a spatula and a spoon to help you flip them – they’ll be a little soft around the edges, so make sure you let a nice crust form on the first side before turning it. Transfer the samosa cakes to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake the patties for 10 minutes, until warm and crusty. Allow them to rest on the baking sheet until cool enough to touch (they will firm up).
- Meanwhile, in a small blender or food processor, combine the reserved scallions with the remaining fresh ginger, yogurt, lime juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Puree until smooth, adding 1 tablespoon of water to thin it slightly, if desired. Transfer to a serving bowl.
- Serve the samosa cakes warm with the ginger-scallion yogurt sauce for dipping.
If you don’t have mashed potatoes at the ready, peel and dice 3 pounds of russet potatoes, cover with a few inches of water in a medium stock pot and boil until tender. Drain, return to the pot, mash. Season to taste with salt and add a tablespoon or two of coconut oil, ghee, or butter and a splash of vegetable stock or water to get slightly creamy. This recipe tastes best with slightly dried out day-old potatoes, so don’t add too much liquid. Proceed with the recipe above.