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Sep 20, 2011 10:16 PM

Use of White Potatoes in Traditional East Asian Cooking?

I first heard of potatoes being eaten in China from a plant explorer who was in western china and watched the local workers eat PLAIN (no soy sauce, nada) roasted potatoes for lunch/ dinner. Since then, i have eaten a super duper popular Korean noodle dish,
<Jajangmyun- homemade noodles topped with a black bean sauce with chopped pork, potatoes, onions and zucchini >
that often contains cubes of potato.
Anyone know of other occurrences of potatoes being eaten in traditional Eastern Asian cuisines(not Indian)?
I am not talking about taro or sweet potatoes; I am talking about white potatoes. I bet I'm going to learn about a lot of new things here; Thanks for your info!

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  1. There's a popular Japanese beef and potato dish, almost in the comfort food category.

    There are various Euroasian dishes in Singapore and Malaysia that include potatoes. Potatoes also appear in Indian influenced dishes.

    2 Replies
    1. re: paulj

      (I believe) The Japanese dish you are referring to is niku jaga. Potatoes are also delicious in oden (great dish in the fall/winter). In the yoshoku category, not classic Japanese cooking, are Japanese-style curry (kare raisu), korokke (croquettes).

      1. re: BigSal

        To add to BigSal's list, potatoes are also used in miso soup (there was a recent Facebook survey on this topic on FB Japan), and you can't rule out potato salad, which is a standard teishoku-ya and homestyle dish. I would imagine the same in Korea. Potato gratins are also pretty much a standard yoshoku dish. Being in Japan, potatoes are pretty much a staple ingredient in the pantry. I've also had steamed potatoes (preferably recently harvested) served either with a miso sauce, or butter-soy sauce (a Hokkaido standard).

        And concurring with Kerosundae, I immediately thought of the crunchy julienned vinegared potato dish and its many variations. I usually find these at Sichuan places.

    2. all Chinese:

      potatoes with pork, green beans and mung bean noodles.

      sauteed julienned potatoes, sticky (juliennes not washed before cooking, seasoned with soy sauce) usually with chives.
      sauteed julienned potatoes, crunchy (juliennes washed many times before cooking, seasoned with vinegar early in cooking to get the crunch). usually with chives.

      roasted potatoes in charcoal: my favorite. when charcoal or rocks are done burning, mostly grey on the outside but still red inside, bury potatoes in the charcoal or rocks and cook for the next hour or 2, kind of the same way as pachamanca. There is absolutely other way to get potatoes to taste like that. This is not a part of modern home cooking, since nobody has access to a fire pit in their apartment; when people lived in houses with the stove as a part of the bed, people made this all the time.

      strips of potatoes in soups.

      steamed potatoes eaten with soybean paste (dajiang) or a sauce made with soybean paste, eggs and ground meat. here, the steamed potatoes would be one of the many things around the table (lettuce, green onions, tofu...) to be eaten with this sauce

      1. For Chinese:

        1. potatoes cut into small cubes, starch washed off, and sauteed then steamed briefly with chicken or pork or beef
        2. potatoes cut into larger wedges and braised in soy sauce with chicken or pork or beef

        1. Potatoes are also used in Vietnamese cuisine, especially in stew type dishes.

          1 Reply
          1. re: luckyfatima

            Yes, I would always enjoy a vegetarian "Curry Soup" at Buddha's Delight in Boston/Brookline which contained chunks of white potatoes, yams, onions, gluten, vermicelli style noodles, coconut milk and curry powder. Warm, spicy, filling... I see that other versions with chicken are on the web.

          2. Shredded potatoes stir-fired with hot peppers is in several Sichuan restaurants in the US - and I saw potatoes in several guises in the Sichuan province. Isn't China the largest potato producer in the world?

            1 Reply
            1. re: Steve

              To add to Korean cuisine:

              I've seen julienned and very quickly stir fried potato with a little bit of sesame oil and salt as a banchan or cubed and tossed with a sweet soy sauce.

              Potatoes are often added to kimchi chigae and daengjang. I also love it in dak dori tang with chicken and carrots.

              When I was little my grandmother used to roast potatoes as a snack and serve them to my sister and I with salt and pepper - although sweet potatoes are more popular this way (no salt and pepper).