Continuing with my love of side dishes, here is one that is good for both summer and winter. It is stir fried potatoes with onions and green peppers. Many potato dishes are heavy and unhealthy (ex. french fries, hash browns, baked potato with the works) but this one is light, nutritious, and deceptively delicious. A little salt and heat brings out the great natural flavors of this starchy vegetable. Whenever my mom set this out before dinner, my sister and I would slowly sneak a few chopsticks-ful until none of it was left when we actually sat down to eat!
I had a hankering for stir fried potatoes the other day so I went to my second best resource, this Korean cookbook, for the recipe. A red light should’ve gone off in my head when I copied down five green bell peppers, but I guess my mind was not functioning very well because I didn’t think twice about it. So, I went to the grocery store and bought two yellow potatoes and five green bell peppers. Once I started cooking, I began to feel like there were one too many green pepper slices but I just kept on cutting away. Seriously, I was like a robot, strictly following illogical directions! I blame it on the heat.
If there weren’t as many bell peppers it would have been really spectacular. Finally, when the time difference allowed me to contact my first choice of reference, my mom, she cried, “Messy! Confusing! Random!” (one word in Korean summarizes all those definitions). According to her, the best way to make this is with just potatoes and a little bit of garlic. Simple, clean, and easy.
The next time I make this I will definitely try making it without the bell peppers, however, I think having just a few would be ok too. I’ve adjusted the recipe so that no one makes the same (thoughtless) mistake I did. If you want to make my mom’s version, omit the green peppers, onion, green onion, and sesame salt.
Stir Fried Potato Side
Adapted from A Korean Mother’s Cooking Notes
2 large yellow potatoes
2 tablespoons salt
2 1/2 cups cold water
2 green bell peppers
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
t tablespoon chopped green onion
1 tablespoon sesame salt
Wash and peel potatoes. Slice into thin strips (I used my mandolin). Sprinkle with salt and cover with 2 cups of water. Set aside for 15 minutes. When the potatoes are soft, drain and rinse.
Cut open the bell peppers and discard the seeds and insides. Slice into small strips. Cut the onion into similar sized strips as well.
Pour the vegetable oil into a non stick pan. When hot, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the potatoes and onion slices. In three or four additions, pour the remaining 1/2 cup of water into the pan. The water will help keep the potatoes soft and keep them from sticking to the pan. Stir fry for about 4 minutes. The potatoes should be cooked but still have a bite to them. When the potatoes are cooked add the bell peppers. Remove from heat when the bell peppers are bright green, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the green onions, sesame salt, and a dash of black pepper.
Serve warm or cold.