Few years back, when I was 21 and doing my internship, The Lonely Planet Magazine was introduced in India. I would buy it every month as soon as it was on stands. I’d devour it page by page, one destination at a time. They would also carry a recipe from the places they traveled. Once it was the Swiss rösti, steaming hot pancake-like flat bread of potatoes. With just one major ingredient, potatoes, it looked very simple. And it was. I made it in the evening one day, those 5-6 years back, it tasted delicious, and then was forgotten for a few years. (May be because I didn’t blog back then).
Fast forward 4 years. We are in Zürich, Switzerland and having a fresh hot rösti at a farmers market.
Fast forward another 2 years and a home-made rösti was sitting on my plate. Crisp on the outside and meltingly soft on the inside. Made in the Zürich way. According to Felicity Cloake who writes at The Guardian, rösti of raw potato is typical only in the Zürich area, rest of the country parboils the potatoes first.
We made it the Zürich way. Shredded potatoes mixed with flour and some cornstarch, salt and liberal amount of pepper.
The correct way to pronounce it is reursch-ti rather than row-sti. The Swiss call it their national dish and the world has taken a shine to it. And why not? Its delicious, easy to make and filling.
I used a trick illustrated by Patrick Williams, where some salt is added to the shredded potatoes, and kept aside for 10 minutes to draw out all the water from the potatoes. It helped wonderfully to make the rösti crisp yet perfectly cooked.
We coupled it with creamy mushroom ragout. And I have to admit, this one is quite a winner. I couldn’t stop eating it, a few spoons at a time, before we sat down for lunch. The mushroom flavor blends incredibly well with the cream and a hint of balsamic vinegar gives it a lovely punch.
Potato rösti RecipeServes 2 or 4 as a side dish
- 1/2 kg uncooked potatoes
- 1 tbsp corn flour
- 2 tbsp flour
- Oil for cooking
- Grate the potatoes. I prefer it unpeeled, but you can very well peel it and then grate. Add some salt, mix well and keep it aside for 10 mins.The potatoes will let out a lot of water. Squeeze out all the water.
- Mix the flour, cornstarch and pepper with the potatoes. Add salt as required.
- Heat a non-stick pan and drizzle with some oil. Take 1/4 cup of the potato mixture and flatten it out like a pancake on the pan with your fingers. Turn the heat on low, pour about 2 tsp of oil- cover and cook.
- Leave it untouched for 5 mins on low heat, preferably with a lid on top, till the top becomes translucent and the bottom gets golden brown.
- Flip, and some more oil and let the other side get golden brown too.
- Serve the rosti with ragout and some chopped parsley or spring onion greens.
The total cooking time on the pan goes well upto 15-20 mins per rosti , to get the right texture. So if serving a big group, you can make it in advance and heat it on the pan before serving.
Alternately, several small 3-4 inch small rosti-s can be made instead of the big 7-8 inch to quicken the process of cooking.