Our latest Get To Know Your Staff introduces Brian, in the deli department, and his delicious recipe for Curried Potato Patties:
Maybe I was destined to have a profound potato experience in my life – after all, I grew up in potato country, the Red River valley in the town of Moorhead, MN – where the high school team name is the “Spuds” and the school mascot is a large potato. Yet, it seems improbable that a simple meal consumed over 30 years ago and half way around the world can still rest so clearly in my thoughts as both a wonderful memory and as a source of inspiration for food and adventure, but it’s true.
In 1983-84, I traveled around the world for nearly a year. On one part of the journey, I was on a classic trek in Nepal, the Annapurna Circuit, with my twin sister and brother-in-law. The trek at that time required about 3 weeks to complete the nearly 200 mile route. It was Day 10 and we were spending a few days at a backpacker guesthouse in the village of Manang (elevation 11,500 ft.) acclimatizing to the elevation before making the push to ascend the high point of the trek – Thorong-La pass at 17,700 ft. I awoke that morning feeling hungry and was directed to the roof top for breakfast. On the roof, I found an elderly Nepalese man tending a small blaze in a brick fire pit. He looked up with a warm, nearly toothless grin and friendly squint. His English was as non-existent as my Nepali, so he pointed at his blackened, pockmarked fry pan and tilted his head to one side – as if to say “are you buying what I’m frying?” With no menu in sight and feeling ravenous, I smiled back and nodded yes. He went to work and quickly served up two fried curried potato patties – golden brown on each side. The first bite was memorable with the crispy exterior and the warm melding of potato and curry on the inside. I quickly ate the patties and ordered two more. That meal had a dramatic effect – renewal, energy and optimism blossomed after the previous week where it felt as if my stomach was having an argument with everything I ate. I felt brand new!
Due to the language barrier, I wasn’t able to ask the cook about recipe details such as seasoning amounts, so the following is what I observed and adapted for my own use.