Papas Arrugadas Wrinkled Potatoes with Mojos : simple and quick meal for two, or as part of a sharing platter for four, Papas Arrugadas and Mojos is a deliciously spicy potato dish (also naturally vegan!)
A perfect snacky dish for anytime of the year, Papas Arrugadas is a simple Spanish dish that has great complexity of flavour. The potatoes are cooked in heavily salted water, until the water evaporates, and the potato skin becomes chewy and tastes almost like a roasted potato. The centre is creamy and delicious. Once dipped into a spicy mojo, these potatoes become a very special sharing food.
You will recall that I have enduring and ongoing love of anything written with Elisabeth Luard. I enjoy her books because she is not promoting a lifestyle like many current celebrity cooks.
Whilst we all love to daydream that we can be as glamorous and affluent as <insert celebrity cook of choice> if only we can perfect their wobbly creme brulee or learn to chop herbs with trendy ambivalence; in truth what they are selling is as far detached from the kitchen as a hammer drill.
This ongoing trend (in both the UK and the US) for producing attractive, slim, sassy cooks, putting them in front of a camera and giving them numerous designer kitchen gadgets to promote, whilst cooking painfully basic food is unnerving.
On various cooking forums I have read people note that Tamasin Day-Lewis is “too dowdy” to watch cook despite her impeccable culinary skills and that Sophie Grigson (yes, THE Jane Grigson’s daughter) is “so unattractive that I forget about the food”. Ina Garten is considered to be “too much in love with her husband that it’s sickening AND loves butter too much” to be considered viewable and people even found the late, great Anthony Bourdain “a bit stringy and unkempt for my liking”.
When on earth did we forget about the food and start concentrating on the good looks of the host? Why do cookery shows have to be filmed in uber-expensive loft apartments at breakneck speed?
What happened to the Keith Floyds of the cookery world, who appeared slightly dishevelled and hungover yet still managed to produce an exquisite piece of French cuisine, whilst being disturbingly nestled by Emus?
Thankfully, on the other hand, we still have Diana Henry, Tessa Kiros and, notably, Elisabeth Luard who has travelled extensively throughout Europe and lived in Spain for many years and is more than happy to share her love and vast knowledge of the ultimate gastronomic treat, the truffle, or write informative, bordering on obsessive, books on the ingredients of cooking of South America or the regional differences in Spanish food.
Her books are exquisitely and sensitively photographed. There are no ‘action’ shots of the cook to distract us, the emphasis is purely on the food and the regions where the food originates.
I have been seduced by her book The Food of Spain and Portugal, have cooked a couple of recipes from it, and bookmarked many more. I would strongly recommend it to anyone who has visited Spain or Portugal and fallen madly in love with the foods, or for people who are shackled to their daily lives but have wanderlust in their hearts (me). The dishes cooked in this book will help send you to warmer climes with dusty roads lined with orange trees and the scent of ripe figs in the air.
Papas Arrugadas translates as wrinkled potatoes and the name is derived from the traditional method of cooking potatoes: slow, with very little water but a lot of salt, in earthenware dishes over low heat. The resulting product is potatoes with, indeed, wrinkly skin but encrusted with salt and deeply flavourful.
This can be easily replicated in the home kitchen using a stockpot or large lidded saucepan. Papas Arrugadas relies on patience but requires little effort for much flavour.
Served with the two Mojos (or sauces), a green one and a red one, the potatoes are wonderful, and drink up the spicy sauces as if they were once again in the soil and drinking up sunlight.
I admit, I did not make the sauces in a pestle and mortar, I used my mini grinder instead. It worked extremely effectively and was far quicker than my weedy crushing could muster.
Table of Contents
What are Mojos?
Mojos, originating from the Canary Islands, are spicy chili sauces, seasoned with fresh garlic, cumin, Spanish paprika (Pimenton), wine vinegars and of course chillies of varying heats. Some use fresh and some dried. My two Mojos used fresh red and green chillies. From a purely aesthetic point of view, they look beautiful side by side, but do not feel it is necessary to make both. And, aside from being an easy supper, these would make a perfect cocktail party nibble.
If you want to make Papas Arrugadas with two Mojos (or even just one!), here’s the recipe. Oh, and by the way, these spicy little sauces last for a few days in the fridge and, as with any sauces of this kind, improve if made the day beforehand.
- potatoes. I use Anya, but any smaller salad potato will do (unpeeled)
- sea salt and water
- cumin seeds
- raw garlic
- wine vinegar
- olive oil
See recipe card for quantities.
Place the cleaned (but not peeled) potatoes in a large, lidded saucepan. Fill the pan with water, halfway up the potatoes. Sprinkle with salt. Cover and bring to a gentle simmer until the water has evaporated.
To make the mojos, simply add the ingredients for each individual mojo into a food processor and blend until smooth. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
Ingredients for green mojo ready to be blended
Save the mojos alongside the potatoes.
Hint: I recommend making the sauces the day beforehand as they improve greatly in flavour overnight.
- chilis – if you don’t like spicy, replace the green chilis with your favourite herbs to the green mojo instead, making a salsa verde
- Spicy – add more chilis if you like it extra spicy!
- Kid friendly – omit the mojos and serve the potatoes with ketchup or mayo!
I use a heavy-bottomed saucepan for the potatoes.
I like to use a mini chopper for the mojos.
Store the mojos in the fridge for up to a week. The potatoes are best eaten on the day they are cooked, although they are great served at room temperature.
I wouldn’t freeze the sauces or the potatoes.
Papas Arrugadas with 2 Mojos (Spanish Wrinkled Potatoes)
- 1 Food Processor mini or normal, to blend the dips
- 1 kg Potatoes - Small salad ones are great, I use Anya
- 1 tablespoon Sea Salt
- Water - to cook
- 2 red chilis - seeds removed
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon Spanish paprika - preferably Picante
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar - to taste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3-4 cloves Garlic
- 125 ml Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 green chili - de-seeded and finely chopped
- 3-4 Cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon Spanish paprika
- 1 tsp White wine vinegar to taste
- 1 teaspoon Sea Salt
- 125 ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
For the potatoes:
- Rinse the potatoes under clean, running water but do not scrub.
- Place in a large pan and pour over enough water to reach barely halfway up the potatoes.
- Sprinkle over the salt.
- Cover tightly and cook over low heat until the water has completely evaporated. Note: I had to pour some water away as I used a little too much.
- If the potatoes seem cooked but you still have lots of water left, pour most of it away and turn the heat up to boil away the rest, leaving the lid on.
- Stir the potatoes halfway through cooking to ensure that the top ones are cooked too.
- Once the water has evaporated, remove the lid and turn the heat up. Very quickly, the potatoes will start to dry out and wrinkle. They will be encrusted with the salt. They are now ready to serve. Note: You don’t have to serve these with the Mojos, they would be just as good with simple mayonnaise or a salad dressing too, or just dipped in ketchup!
To make the Mojos:
- Put all the dry ingredients for the red mojo, including the garlic, in a spice or coffee grinder and blend until you have a reddish paste.
- Pour in the olive oil and some of the vinegar and process until you have a smooth dipping sauce. Taste for seasoning, add more salt or vinegar or oil if you feel it needs it.
- Decant into little dipping pots.
- The green Mojo is made in exactly the same manner.
Please note that where the recipe asks for milk, butter or yogurt, this refers to any plant-based version that you prefer.