Recipe Index Page

OK, here it is, Mashed Potatoes number 3. This is the recipe for both "half mashed," and light and fluffy. Mashed Potatoes can have a wonderful fluffy texture, if the correct amount of water, oil, and almond butter is used.

Here are the ingredients:

  1. 3 rather large potatoes (each about 10 cm in diameter), or 4 medium-sized (8 cm), or 7 smallish potatoes (5 cm).I use the pink-skinned variety. I don't use any of the dry russet varieties. There is a dramatic difference in texture between the 2 kinds, as you bite into an 8mm thick piece of potato, cooked al dente.
  2. Water.
  3. 45 ml of unrefined, cold pressed sesame oil
  4. Almond butter, from unblanched almonds. About 50 ml.
  5. Cayenne pepper flour, less than 0.5 ml, just a teensy teensy bit, so that you can barely detect any heat in the finished dish. Note that even though you can barely taste the cayenne pepper itself, it influences how the other ingredients are perceived. Alternatively you could use very finely chopped fresh hot peppers, any kind.
  6. Salt, about 2 ml
  7. Optional cilantro, 75 ml if coarsely chopped (maybe 15 stems with leaves)
  8. Optional: vegetable juice, mostly carrot. Could also have celery, and a little turnip, and yellow beet. About 1/2 a cup should be more than enough.


  1. 3 quart stainless steel pot having an aluminum or copper bottom on the outside, or a tri-ply bottom (aluminum or copper sandwhiched in-between stainless steel)..
  2. Large spoon.
  3. Stovetop burner, preferably gas.
  4. Hardwood cutting board.
  5. 20 to 30 cm chef's knife.
  6. Paring knife or potato-carrot peeler

Cut the potatoes into discs about 2 centimeters thick. A medium potato will be cut into about 4 to 6 such discs. 2 cm is just about the right size to make them easy to peel. Peel them by going around them circumference of each disc with a peeler, or very sharp paring knife. I use a carbon steel paring knife for this purpose, since I find it difficult to get a stainless steel knife sharp enough with my basic sharpening tools. For mashed potatoes, leaving a bit of peel on the potato is not a good idea. Try to get most of it off, but if you miss a spec here and there, it isn't a major disaster.

Then slice the discs into pieces about 3/4 of a centimeter thick. Slicing before you mash means you don't have to cook as long, and you use less fuel. If you have a good, sharp, 8 to 12 inch chef's knife, the slicing takes very little time. It would be good if you could watch a chef to see how this is done. You line up the pieces, and go slice, slice, slice, slice, slice, slice with the kinfe, while you are pushes the pieces along, under the knife. Keep the distal end of the knife always on the cutting board, and rock the knife on the distal end as you push the potato pieces through. It is best to use a wooden cutting board, a hardwood like maple, and one that is used for plant products only. Some studies have shown that plastic cutting boards harbor more potentially pathogenic microorganisms, than wooden boards. Apparently the little grooves that get cut into the plastic board are gigantic valleys for micro-organisms. Food sticks in the grooves, and the organisms "eat" it. Wood, on the other hand - after you leave the board alone, the grooves kind of close up, as the wood's moisture repositions itself. Also, wood has resins in it, or something, that interfere with the organisms' metabolism. Plus little bits of wood in your food won't harm you. Little bits of plastic in your food? I don't know. Doesn't sound as appetising.

For half-mashed, steam al dente, just until potato pieces are cooked though, then another minute. You can see the difference in translucency between an area of potato that is cooked through, and the whiter area that isn't. Cook through, and al dente turns out to be just a minute longer. Personally, I often like to eat them just like this, cooked al dente, and with the same ingredients added as for mashed. Put about an inch of water in the bottom of a good pot and cover the pot. Add some salt. Add the potatoes. Consider adding a single drop of oil to keep the steaming water from foaming too much and to help keep potatoes from sticking to the bottom of the pot. By single drop, I mean just that, a single drop, such as you might drop out of an eye-dropper.

OK, since we are going to mash these potatoes, we are going to have to cook them a little more than just al dente. After they reach al dente, cook them another 3-4minutes for half-mashed. For fluffy mashed potatoes, cook about 6 minutes. You may have to adjust time, depending on the particular variety and particular crop of potatoes.

If you are going to use fresh hot peppers, add them about 2 minutes before the potatoes finish cooking. Powdered cayenne - about a minute. These are not going to have any other seasonings besides the salt and the optional cayenne pepper and the optional vegetable juice.

The water they they were cooked in, at the bottom of the pot, will be thick and syrupy. There will be very little water left, but you don'w want to boil it all away.

Now mash. Use a potato masher. Never use a food processor for mashing potatoes. You'll have a disasterous result. Mash to the degree you like. The potatoes will be warm, but not hot. You can put your finger in without burning them, although it may hurt a bit. Time to add the sesame oil, and almond butter. Mash a bit more. Adjust the consistency by adding more water, or the optional vegetable juice. Vegetable juice can add a nice color. The almond butter and oil will make the mashed potatoes light and fluffy. For light and fluffy, you'll have to adjust the water carefully. Too much water and you'll have runny, too little and they won't be light and fluffy. You may also have to add more almond butter.

Adjust the salt. That's it!

You can eat these as is, along with a salad or steamed vegetables, or you can add steamed vegetables to the mashed potatoes. Green beans work very nicely. Cooked al dente. I've never found frozen green beans that work out well. Not snap peas either. But frozen edamame works out nicely. So does sweet corn. I am convinced that you should keep it down to just one vegetable in this recipe. Otherwise they all detract from each other, as opposed to complement each other, the way they do in rice recipes. Although vegetable juice and a steamed vegetable seem to work out OK.

If you are using edamame, note that frozen edamame is often imported from China, where I don't think we can see whether their pure food laws are being as stringently enforced as they should be, and mostly have to take their word for it. Personally, I prefer edamame from Taiwan as I tend to have more confidence in their social system and government. I have a story about what I found in freeze dried vegetables imported from China that I will be telling on another day.

You could also add cilantro. Make sure it doesn't get hot enough to wilt. If I am adding cilantro, I would add cilantro and nothing else. No vegetable I mean.