Appetizers and Side dishes — By Ben on 06 December 2007
Tortas de Papa

Tortas de papa

Although I grew up around food and tasted almost every dish that was prepared at my parents’ restaurant, I never actually made many of those dishes. I used to help my mom or Lupita (the girl my grandfather hired almost 40 years ago and still works there) with the prep or the cleaning, but only a few times did I cook something all by myself. That’s why when I moved away I didn’t do much cooking. I didn’t have those great women next to me telling me how to do it.

There is a time in everybody’s life, when you reach certain age, when you want to do it just like your mom used to do it, and it is an adventure trying to recreate those old recipes. That’s what I found out when I made, for the very first time, tortas de papa (potato cakes). Her tortas de papa not only tasted great, but they also looked great. They were perfect golden circles while mine were odd shapes that I almost burnt. The taste was very good, though, almost like the ones my mom used to make. How did she do it?

Tortas de Papa
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetiser
Cuisine: Mexican
 
Ingredients
  • •1 lb potatoes
  • •½ cup queso añejo or queso fresco grated
  • •2 eggs
  • •¼ cup flour
  • •vegetable oil
  • •spices (I used oregano, parsley and cumin)
  • •salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Peel potatoes, cut in cubes and boil them in water until soft.
  2. Drain and mash them lightly. Let them cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Add cheese, eggs, flour and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Mashed until all the ingredients are mixed and you have a manageable paste.
  5. In a large skillet heat about 1 inch of vegetable oil. It will be hot enough when you drop into it a little bit of the mixture and it bubbles.
  6. With a tablespoon take some of the mixture and carefully drop it in the oil. With the same spoon flatten it to form a round, flat cake.
  7. Let it fry for about 5 minutes or until it turns light brown and flip it over. Let the other side cook the same way.
  8. Remove from oil and place on a paper towel that’ll absorb the extra oil.
  9. Serve as a side dish.

I guess I need years and years of experience to make perfectly round tortas de papa like my mom’s. Until then, I will have to settle with these other weird shapes.

¡Buen provecho!

Tortas de papa

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About Author

grew up around food. His family owned a restaurant in Mexico City and he spent a big deal of his childhood helping and learning after school the art of creating delicious dishes from simple ingredients. He created this blog to share his kitchen adventures with the world.

(20) Readers Comments

  1. Hey Ben…These sound terrific, as usual. My mother and grandmother made something very similar with left over mashed potatoes. A bit of egg, and I think a light dusting of flour and then into the fry pan. They fried everything. I like the idea of cheese in yours. Yum…

    • We should write a book about our mom’s and grandma’s recipes. It’d be a success! :D

  2. They’re not perfectly round….but they’re perfectly browned! I could never make those as perfect as you did.
    I have a question about queso fresco for you, because I’ve never worked with it before. What is the flavor and texture of it? I think next time I’m at the store, I’ll buy some.

    • Awww! Thanks for the compliment. You will be my guest of honor next time I make them :D

      Queso fresco is soft, moist and crumbly. The flavor is a little bit strong for some people, not as strong as cotija, but it is perfect for enchiladas and tostadas. If you cook it it is not supposed to melt, that’s the cheese they use to stuff peppers (chiles rellenos) with. The one that is sold in the US is a little bit different than the Mexican version, it has a more settle taste. Let me know if you make anything with it. It is one of my favorite cheeses!

  3. Hey!. I remember those ones, my mother and grandma used to cook it. Nice ones by the way

    • Thanks, I still think my mom’s were perfect :D

  4. Yum! I love potatoes cooked in any shape, way or form. These look great and I think I shall include them on my next brunch menu.

    • I agree, potatoes are great in any shape way or form. What would we do without them?

  5. Thanks for dropping by. I love Mexican food, especially salsa with those chips. Yummy!
    Fruity

    • Hi Fruity,
      Thanks to you too for stopping by. I love salsa too, there are many kinds of salsa and I will be posting some of them here. You are welcomed to visit any time you want. I love your blog, btw

  6. And the outside gets crispy right? :)

    • Yes, the outside gets crispy and the inside remains soft and cheesy :D It is a great dish.

  7. Sounds great. I’m planning to try these soon. It would be great if you could give some indicate of servings/yield in your recipes though! Thanks a lot.

    • Allison, you are right. That is something I always forget when writing my recipes. Thanks for the tip, I will keep a post it next to my screen with it.
      This recipe makes 6 tortas de papa if you use one and a half tablespoons to measure each one. Of course you can make them bigger or smaller.

      Thanks for stopping by and for the tip :D

  8. Thanks for the info, Ben.

  9. Ben! I’m right there with you! I loved my Memaw’s potato cakes!
    She always used leftover mashed potatoes, and added a little finely chopped onion, and maybe an egg. I never actually witnessed her making them.

    Like you, I have tried and tried to make these tasty treats like she did, but my memory says, ‘hers were better.’
    I want to figure out how to get a crispy texture on the outside and a creamy texture on the inside.
    What if we browned them in a fry pan with a little butter then finished them in the oven? It wouldn’t be exactly how our Moms did it, but it just might work.

    Just think, years from now, our kids will be posting about our recipes.

  10. I loved my mothers tortas de papa, I have tried making them using many kinds of potaoes and found the small red ones work best, they bind together better, also I have made them with queso fresco and chihuahua cheese (I’m from Chicago and the cheese is made here) they are both good. I like my mom make them as the main course, make a sauce topping with tomato’s, onions, garlic and a pinch of Oregano. Muy SABROSO.

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