Patatas Bravas, the one dish I had almost every day while on a trip to Spain in December. From ordering this tapa dish in various restaurants and in various cities, I realised that there are variations to the recipe which results in differing consistencies, colours and flavours as some are more tomato-based while others are more red pepper based or include an aioli. However, they all tasted amazing!
A few days ago, someone suggested that I make Spanish dishes. The first one that came to mind was this one. However, there are some key variations in what I made. The potatoes in this dish are usually fried. However, I cooked them in the oven with some cornstarch for a crispier outer layer. The cornstarch can be completely skipped or, if you do not mind oil, you could fry the potatoes or drizzle some oil over the potatoes before placing them in a preheated oven.
I touched on the nutritional benefits of potatoes in my last recipe post. You can click here to recap on their health benefits. The health benefits of the next dominant ingredient, tomatoes, are numerous as tomatoes contain a range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants such as lycopene, B-complex vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Potassium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Copper, Manganese and Calcium alongside dietary fibre. I will only elaborate on those that have not been mentioned in previous posts.
Lycopene is the carotenoid which gives tomato its red colour. It has various health benefits which include the protection of cells from free radicals, inhibition of growth or prevention of some cancers and a reduction in the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Studies have also shown that lycopene (in conjunction with vitamin A) has a rather therapeutic effect on asthma thereby reducing symptoms that occur as a result of exercise by improving lung function. More information concerning lycopene and asthma can be found here.
Vitamin K is popularly known as the vitamin which aids in reducing blood loss due to injury. Vitamin K also acts to reduce and control blood clotting and prevent internal bleeding as well as provide relief from menstrual cramps by aiding in the proper functioning of hormones. This vitamin promotes the absorption of calcium which in turn encourages the formation and maintenance of strong and healthy bones.
Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral in the body. It works with calcium, the most profuse mineral, to form and maintain bone health and strength. This mineral also aids in the formation and utilisation of proteins in the body in order to promote cell and tissue growth and maintenance. It also aids in the metabolisation of fats and carbohydrates which, in turn, aids in the maintenance and efficient use of energy by the body’s organs. In conjunction with vitamin B, phosphorus aids in the normalisation of kidney function (by helping to filter out waste from the body), muscle function (thereby preventing or reducing muscle pains) and nerve function. Lastly, phosphorus balances and aids in the utilisation of other minerals and vitamins in the body.
Copper promotes the absorption and utilisation of iron from food and encourages red blood cell formation thereby maintaining a healthy red blood cell count and preventing or aiding in the treatment of iron deficiency anaemia by aiding in the oxygenation of the various organs in the body. In addition to this, copper promotes the health and protection of the body’s connective tissues and myelin sheath. Copper prevents premature ageing by supporting the production of collagen and elastin in connective tissues in order to maintain the flexibility of the skin and, in turn, prevent wrinkles and bags.
Manganese, like phosphorus, aids in the absorption of calcium and works with it to build and maintain bones, the metabolisation of carbohydrates and fats and formation of tissues. It also promotes thyroid health and regulates blood sugar levels by controlling insulin secretion and synthesis thereby preventing or aiding in the treatment of diabetes. Finally, manganese aids in the increase of superoxide dismutase in the body thereby soothing or preventing sprains and inflammation and preventing or reducing the symptoms of conditions such as arthritis.
Without further ado, here’s my recipe for patatas bravas:
Ingredients (serves 1-2 (as meal/tapa)
1/2 Purple Onion (chopped)
1 Large Garlic (minced)
400g can/carton Chopped Tomatoes
Hot Chilli Powder
2tsp Tomato Purée
Patatas (preheat oven to 200-250°C or 392-482°F or heat some oil in a pan/deep fryer)
9 small-medium Potatoes (peeled)
Olive Oil (optional)
- Water-fry the onions and garlic for 4-5 minutes.
- Add in the chopped tomatoes and stir to evenly spread the onions and garlic and prevent them from burning.
- 4-5 minutes later, add the sugar, salt, black pepper and other spices followed by the tomato purée.
- Stir to thoroughly combine.
- Place a lid over your saucepan and cook down on med-low heat for a few minutes (optionally, you can stir in a few tablespoons of water before cooking down).
- Turn off the heat and let the sauce sit for 20 minutes to a few hours.
- Make the potatoes then turn the heat back on low and heat up the sauce if you would prefer it a bit warmer.
- Chop the potatoes into irregular shapes or into 4-6 cubes per potato.
- Optionally, you can place the potatoes in warm-hot water for 30-60mins, cook them in boiling water for about 5mins or just leave them plain.
- Toss the potatoes with some sea salt.
- Fry the potatoes or continue to the next steps
- Optionally, toss the potatoes with some cornstarch or olive oil (you can optionally, drizzle the olive oil after the next step)
- Lay the potatoes out on a baking tray lined with parchment paper or a non-stick/silicone baking mat.
- Place the tray in a preheated oven (preferably on the fan and grill setting) for 15 minutes.
- After the time has elapsed, turn the potatoes over and place them back into the oven for an additional 5 minutes.
- Dish some of the potatoes out into a plate and drizzle/dish some of the brava sauce over it.
- Garnish with shredded fresh herbs such as parsley or basil or shredded romaine/sweet gem lettuce.
If you try the recipe, upload a picture of it to Instagram with the hashtag #lickyourplaterecipe so I can have a look at and like it.