Thursday, April 16, 2009

You Say Potatoe, I say Potato

Story and images by Veronica Ng

I was a bit wary when my Editor asked me to present myself at Signature Kitchen waay in the boondocks of Kota Damansara to review a cooking class by celebrity chef Amy Beh, organized by Flavours Magazine in conjunction with the US Potato Board. Finding the place was an adventure by itself.

I reported myself to the Star Publications executive in charge, Ms Julie Wong who turned out to be very helpful indeed and gave me a seating place right at the front.

I saw Amy doing her preparations with the assistance of her right hand man Jason and took the opportunity to ask a few questions. Amy proved to be a good multi-tasker as she handled both the set-up and my questions professionally.

Today’s three recipes were potato based, and each participant was given a goodie bag with booklets on the tuber, recipes, more recipes and samples of US Russet, Blue &Purple and Round Reds potatoes.

Did you know that the potato is a much misunderstood vegetable? Many people are led to believe that the spud is worthless and starchy with empty calories? In actual fact it is high in vitamin C, packs more potassium than a banana and is naturally fat free and averages about 110 calories only. So have a little respect, please, people.

Amy quickly got down to business with her Braised Chicken Stew and soon filled the room with the wonderful aroma of home-cooking. The stew contained chicken, US Round Red potatoes, Chinese mushrooms, dried cuttlefish, various spices and both light and dark soy sauce.

Next up was the Thai Style Chicken and Potato Curry which featured the US Round Red and Purple potatoes, bamboo shoots, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, coriander, red chillies, shrimp paste and meat curry powder in coconut milk.

Finally she launched into Deep Fried Potato Bread with US Russet and Purple potatoes, wholemeal flour, salt, pepper and corn oil for binding. She fried them in her wok and drained them on kitchen paper.

Then it was our turn to try our hand at the recipes and you can well image the scenario with 40 women in the kitchen, all cooking and chatting at the same time.

It was a Saturday afternoon well spent as I made many new friends and learned a couple of new recipes as well. I will definitely be there for future classes.

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