That’s right. There are many basic potato salads in the world but this one is mine. Search for a recipe and Google provides a thousand, if not infinity.
Why this keenness for potato salad? What makes potato salad so gastronomically satisfying that I would be bothered enough to make it?
If you’ve not heard of the saying “Conquer a basic potato salad, conquer the world”, that’s because I just made it up. Now that I have made a basic potato salad, you just sit back and wait for me to take over the planet. All my made-up-on-the-spot sayings would be your bible, Mao Zedong’s little red book would be a mere buku 555.
Speaking of publishing and infamous people, my friend Patrick Teoh is launching his book, Teohlogy this January 22nd at Popular Bookstore, Ikano Power Centre. 2pm onwards, he’ll sign everything except for hideous body parts, go buy a copy and meet and greet him!
So, back to my basic potato salad. There are many ways and methods to begin making your own potato salad. I’m sure that somewhere out there, someone rode on an ostrich, miraculously survived and went home to make a potato salad. I could also go on linking Archimedes’ Eureka with potato salad but you may find that too hard to swallow. That is why you must exercise patience and give your potatoes adequate time to boil.
Enough. I shall
boil bore you no longer. So here it is, my journey to making a basic potato salad which began with 3 telephone calls:
Call #1: My sister to ask her how to make a potato salad. She did not answer.
Call #2: My mother to ask to speak to my sister who was with her. “Boil potatoes, get some sour cream, chives… etc etc”
Call #3: My mother to ask her if chives and daun bawang were the same thing. In case you are wondering, no.
1. Buy potatoes! Otherwise the whole potato salad thing might not come to fruition, just saying. I bought a few medium sized Australian chat potatoes and at the end the process, found that 4 of them would be enough for 3 side servings.
Wash your potatoes. Put them in a pot with water. Turn on the fireyahhh. Boil for about 20 minutes. Stick in a fork to see if it’s done. For potato salad, you want it with a bit of bite and not too mushy. Remove from hot water and pot. Wash over with water because… I don’t know why but there must be a logic to it.
When it cools a little, peel off the skin and cut the potatoes into small pieces.
2. Fry bacon! I use bacon bits because a) Jaya Grocer ran out of streaky bacon; and b) bacon bits are a heck lot cheaper and does the same job. Nowadays I leave the bacon in the pan longer than usual, as to get a crispy effect.
After you have deemed your bacon fried and crispy, transfer to a plate with kitchen towel to soak up the grease. Then leave it alone because if you try to mess with it now, you’d burn your fingers. I speak from experience that it is very painful.
When the bacon has cooled down a bit, chop it into tiny pieces. I use scissors and cut them individually because I am a control freak like that.
3. Seasoning! Add salt, black pepper, butter (which I forgot but doesn’t matter) and sour cream. The sour cream was probably the most expensive ingredient because it’s not something that I conveniently stock at home, you see. I used only a few dollops but it was so worth it. No matter, I will find other use for it.
Oh, and add some chopped onions too. Mix well.
4. Final touches! Add the precious bacon bits and chopped scallions. I use scallions (daun bawang) because 1) Jaya Grocer didn’t have chives; b) it’s 4 times cheaper than chives; and c) it does the same friggin’ job.
Mix well, add more sour cream if you so desire, serve.
Next how-to: world domination. La la la la la…