Mashed potatoes are one of the versatile side dishes that goes well with anything. Fried chicken, steak, chicken/pork/lamb chops… you name it, the choice is basically endless. You can easily order mashed potatoes in fast food restaurants, steakhouses, cafes and even enjoy them in a convenient instant pack. But did you know it doesn’t take rocket science to mash your own potatoes at home? They are actually easy to do and most importantly, you can control the amount of salt and other flavourings like butter and milk you want to add during the mashing process. Below is an essential guide on how to make creamy mashed potatoes at home.
1) Choose The Right Potato
Potato is still a potato, right? Hold it right there because if you are planning to make smooth and creamy mashed potato, you definitely need to pick the right one. Always choose potatoes with higher starch such as the popular Russet varieties. They are also known to be more flavourful and fluffier.
2) Remember To Salt The Water
Your potato tastes bland? That’s because you are not adding any salt to the water when you boil the potatoes in the pot. The additional salt helps to absorb and enhance the flavour of your potatoes. You can choose to leave your potatoes unpeeled and boil them. But if you do not like the taste of skin-on mashed potatoes, you can always opt to peel them using a potato peeler and cut them into chunks before putting them in the pot.
3) Use Cold Water To Boil Your Potatoes
It’s a bad idea to start cooking your potatoes with boiling or hot water. Your potatoes will end up being cooked unevenly. Instead, use cold water and add some salt before placing the potatoes in a pot and bring everything to a boil. Remember not to overcook your potatoes because they will turn sticky or gummy. The best way to know your potatoes are well-cooked? Two words: fork-tender.
4) Make Sure Your Cooked Potatoes Are Dry
Once you are done cooking your potatoes, it is important to drain them completely over a colander before returning them to the same pot again. If you fail to drain them well enough, you will end up with soggy and watery mashed potatoes later on. And believe us, soggy mashed potatoes both sucks and is off-putting.
5) Use The Right Tool To Mash Your Potatoes
Forget about using the fork. Sure, it is the most basic kitchen tool to mash the potatoes but that will take ages. Use a designated tool, which is specialised for mashing potatoes such as a ricer and food mill. And whatever you do, forget about using a blender or food processor to mash your potatoes. You will end up with a gooey mess, not the kind of fluffy mashed potatoes that you should be getting instead.
6) Cold Flavourings Do Not Mix Well
When you are about to start mashing your potatoes in a pot, do not use butter, milk or cream straight out from the refrigerator. If you choose to do that, the potatoes will not absorb all these flavours properly. Not to mention you will cool down the potatoes and no one likes to eat cold mashed potatoes. So, allow your butter and other dairy products to settle to room temperature before adding them to your potatoes. Alternatively, you can also choose to heat them gently on the stovetop beforehand.
7) Your Potatoes Need Your Gentle Touch
That means do not mash them vigorously or even for too long because your potatoes would turn pasty. Whatever you do, try your best not to overwork your potatoes. Your primary goal here is to mash them until they reach your desired consistency.