The twins have one special word that I forgot to mention in my previous post, ‘When Egg Was Yellow’ — meto-meto. They use the word ‘meto-meto’ to refer to either one of two things: tomato ketchup (‘sos tomato‘ in Malay) or mashed potato.
My children just loooooove mashed potato. When I’m pressed for time, I usually just buy KFC’s whipped potato with gravy. Personally, I don’t like it that much because it looks like the type that’s made from potato flakes, like one of those things that come in boxes which you only have to mix with hot water. I very much prefer my mashed potato slightly chunky. So every chance I get, I try to make some for my kids.
For me, the key to great mashed potato is the type of potatoes that you use. My personal favourite? US Russet Potatoes. These babies are flakey and will not get sticky like some kind of glue once boiled and mashed.
Here’s how I make mashed potatoes:
- 1 kg US Russet Potatoes
- approximately 65 grams butter — about a quarter of a 250-gram block (or half a stick for our American friends)
- 2 tablespoons of milk
- salt and white pepper to taste
- Peel the potatoes and cut them into halves or quarters, so that they’ll cook faster and can be mashed with less effort later.
- Boil the potatoes. You can put a bit of salt in the water, if you like.
- Once the potatoes are fork-tender, turn off the heat and drain the water.
- Put the potatoes in a big bowl.
- Put in the butter, milk, salt and white pepper together with the potatoes.
- Mash, mash, mash! (Which reminds me — MyEldest used to call it ‘smashed potato’!)
Please take note that you can add a bit more butter or milk according to your taste. The 65 grams of butter that I mentioned is just a general guideline. You can add more or less, depending on your preference. As for the salt and pepper, start with a teaspoon of each and keep on adding until you get the taste that’s to your liking.
And now, for the twist.
I realise that, in the West, mashed potato is considered a side dish. So people usually make some meat dish first, which the mashed potatoes will complement. The meat dish will provide the lovely drippings as a flavourful base for the gravy. In my children’s case, however, mashed potatoes are a meal by itself so I don’t even need to cook anything else — just the potatoes and the gravy.
So how does one go about making gravy without drippings? Why, instant gravy mixes, of course. Unfortunately, the instant gravy mixes that I’ve tried are not satisfactory at all. Then one lucky day, I discovered Ikea’s cream sauce mix for meatballs. It comes in powder form, packed in a sachet, is very easy to cook and tastes wonderful.
Each sachet requires 250 ml of water and 100 ml of cream. Usually, I just buy whipping cream, which comes in 200 ml tetra packs in Malaysia. So instead of keeping the remaining cream, I usually just use up the entire pack together with 2 sachets of the meatball sauce.
Here’s how I make the ‘gravy’:
- 2 sachets of Ikea’s meatball sauce
- 500 ml water
- 200 ml whipping cream
- Pour water and cream into a pan (or Corningware). Bring to just under a simmer. This is very important, so as to prevent the gravy from forming lumps.
- Slowly put in the meatball sauce powder mix, whisking the mixture very quickly to ensure that all the powder is dissolved and doesn’t form lumps.
- Simmer for 3 minutes while stirring occasionally. Do not let it boil because it might overflow.
- Serve with the mashed potato.
Sounds very simple, no? Because it is. It’s so quick and simple that there was simply no time for me to stop and take pics of each and every step of the procedure as I was making the mashed potato and gravy.
In fact, I consider myself VERY lucky indeed to have been able to take a photo of a scoop of this heavenly mashed potato topped by the creamy gravy, just before my kids gobbled everything up!
Warning: The moment you start eating this melt-in-the-mouth comfort food, you might suddenly find yourself unable to stop, taking one more helping after another. So be prepared to burn those extra calories at the gym in the days to come! Or better still, round up a few hungry kids to eat up most of it, so that you don’t end up overeating! ;)