Saturday, 19 September 2015

Red Russian Potato Pancakes

By Evan Duxbury
I volunteered with the Green Zebra crew this past weekend to help bring some of the best local, organic produce to the people of the Downtown East Side. I was blown away by the selection we had on offer, in particular these Red Russian potatoes from God’s Little Acre Farm in Surrey.
Despite their dark, matte exterior, these potatoes are violently violet on the inside and could add some excitement to your grandmother’s traditional potato dishes.
I was told they could be treated like any potato, so I decided to try mashing them and frying them to see how the texture would turn out and to see if the color would stick around. Poof. A fairly straightforward journey down boiler road led to a purple vortex of flavor and texture.
Waxy potatoes don’t have a lot of starch, so when mashed, they don’t absorb dairy very well and you get a gluey, watery result. The Red Russians seem to be a very versatile potato as they came out light and creamy without packing as much starch as a typical russet. These potatoes held up very well texture wise and you can see that the color seems to be sticking around.

Mashing alone seemed too simple, so I mixed in some flour, cheese (I’d recommend a spicy cheddar), egg and garlic then fried the mixture, yielding these potato cakes (recipe here).
In this second phase, you can see that the purple is harder to distinguish against the browned crust of the cakes. Delicious though! I served them with a slice of bacon, some sauteed kale and some yellow zucchini (also from God’s Little Acre)
 These were nice potatoes to work with and yielded a great mashed texture. Since the purple hue of these taters were their defining quality, I’d recommend steaming or baking as these cooking methods tend to keep more color in potatoes.
I wasn’t able to find any nutrition information for the Red Russians in particular, but purple potatoes in general appear to stack up like this:
The values are approximations but they provide a rough idea about the purple potato nutrition. (source)

1 medium size potato (213 g)



Carbohydrates (g)



Protein (g)



Fiber (g)






Fat (g)



That purple potatoes appear to have more carbohydrates and less fiber than white potatoes is disappointing. However, the increased protein is a bonus, and they may even help prevent colon cancer.

1 comment:

  1. Evan, Thank you for sharing your thoughts on purple (Red Russian, in this case) potatoes. The U.S. Potato Board's website provides a lot of information on various potato types. You can find the information here: