Spicy Spuds were an aromatic, over fried chunk of late-night-bad-food heaven from that grey area of my life that covers the ages after childhood but well before being any kind of a grown up.
It was the late 90s in a sunny Essex town, and it was about two in the morning after a Friday night on a beer soaked dancefloor in an old church. No, really. Anyway some classy young specimens were making their way out of town, via kebab alley, to a pick up point where someone’s long suffering boyfriend/reasonably liberal parents were going to collect and return them home. On the way, there was a greasy and questionably clean fast fooderie which had a shorter queue than the others, and thus won the patronage of said classy young specimens. These classy specimens were also broke, having spent all their pennies on horrible beer and the bus into town, and had two quid between them. Two quid got you a bag of spicy spuds.
Oh. My. Heavens.
With that, a late night addiction for deep fried lumps of curry smothered potatoes (with a squeeze of mayo) was born. They were the ultimate post beer snack- hot and fluffy and perfectly carby to soak up some of that horrible beer before it had time to give you a Saturday morning headache. Not that we had hangovers in those days, aaaaah, youth.
Anyhoo. I don’t know what got me thinking about them, but I was, and I certainly wouldn’t want to faithfully recreate them today as ,like most items from a greasy looking kebab shop with no queue at pub kick out time, you probably don’t want to eat anything on that menu when you’re sober. Or over the age of 19. God knows what they were cooked in or how old those stubs of spud were, and as well as dripping in fat they were the kind of bright yellow that is found in nature only as a warning to stay the hell away. Good times.
They have inspired me, however, to spice up my own spuds at home and even without the masses of beer beforehand, this mid thirties version is pretty good too. We eat them now after a cheeky post-gardening gin rather than smashed in the streets of Colchester in the wee small hours.
You will note they are not par-boiled or cooked on the top temperature because they are not roasties. The soft innards and only sightly crisp outers are entirely intentional. Use a decent ready-bought curry powder of your desired heat and don’t be tempted to add any more salt as the celery salt covers that requirement.
Boomboom Spicy Spuds
Ten new/baby potatoes
3 heaped tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/2tsp hot paprika
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp sumac
Set your oven to 180c.
Wash and halve the potatoes (unless they are really small) and put them in a bowl. Give them a generous glug of oil, then mix the spices together well and add. Give it all a really good stir.
Give an oven proof dish another good glug of oil and put in the oven for 2 minutes to warm up. After this time take the dish out again, add the spiced spuds and then cook for 20 minutes. Now give them a shake to make sure the spices are well distributed and nothing is burning. Cook for another 20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft all the way through. Crank up the heat to 205 and cook for another 8 minutes to crisp the edges.
Serve immediately to random drunks in the early hours of a Saturday morning or, with some chicken and a nice green salad.
Variations: if you’re a massive fan of any spicy flavours feel free to add in some of those- cumin, coriander, etc. Hot heads can add some chilli flakes if you wish. If you don’t have rapeseed oil use vegetable oil, don’t be tempted by olive oil the flavour is too strong and it’s flashpoints mean you will have soggy spuds. No one wants soggy spuds.