The Spicy Spud is a unique Cambridge phenomenon which probably occurs in other places too. Every fish and chip or kebab take away in Cambridge seems to do them – except the ones that don’t. There is no standard recipe or supplier, so each shop has their own version. This recipe is my attempt to recreate the spicy potato of my youth. Best eaten with huge gobs of chip shop mayonnaise – the nastiest, gloopiest, vinegarest, stuff available – after several pints of IPA and a terrible band at the Sea Cadet Hut. The Spicy Potato is heaven in a greasy cardboard box.
It is basically a potato chunk, covered in a batter and rolled in breadcrumbs. The only spice it actually contains is pepper but various salts are used to give it extra flavour. Adjust the ingredients to your taste until you are taken back to the halcyon days of The Destructors belting out “Sewage Worker” while you jump up and down and try not to spill your 70p pint.
- 3 or 4 large potatoes. I use baking potatoes, chopped into roughly 30mm cubes.
For the batter:
- 50g flour
- 2 tsp onion salt
- ½ tsp garlic granules
- ½ tsp celery salt
- 85ml milk
For the coating:
- 6 Tbsp breadcrumbs
- 6 Tbsp flour
- 1 Tbsp coarse ground black pepper
Put the potatoes in boiling water, bring them back to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain well and make sure they are dry. Let them cool down for a bit. Don’t cook them until they are soft – we don’t want mashed potato.
Heat a pan of sunflower oil (about 40mm deep) to 140C. Pre-heat your oven to 180C.
Make the batter by mixing the ingredients together and smushing out the lumps. Coat the potatoes with the batter and put on a rack to drain the excess. You don’t want too much batter on them or you end up with huge lumps of coating. This can also happen if the batter is too thick.
Mix the coating ingredients and roll the battered pots in it to get a nice even coating. Be careful when handling them because it’s easy to scrape the coating off at this stage. Like Luke Skywalker, I use the forks to move them around.
Put them in the oil in batches of 4 or 5. Cook them for 30 seconds and whip them out again. All you are doing is solidifying the batter and infusing some oil into the coating. The actual cooking happens in the oven.
Put them on a baking tray and put them in the oven for 25 minutes, turning at 15 minutes. For an authentic non-crispy coating, cover them with foil after 15 minutes and cook for another 20 minutes.
Enjoy your spicy potatoes with the cheapest, most horriblest mayonnaise you can find.