If you love potato and fancy spicy flavour, you must try this Chinese potato pancake! It’s pungent and crispy. A great side dish to add zing to your meal.
When I lived in Switzerland, I often had Swiss national dish potato rösti. It always reminded me of a tasty dish that I enjoyed when travelling in Yunnan province, China years ago. These two dishes share many similarities in their main ingredients, cooking method and appearance. However, I prefer the Chinese potato pancake for its crispier texture and tangy flavour.
Cut or grate the potatoes
The Chinese name of this potato dish is Gan Bian Yang Yu Si (干煸洋芋丝). It literally means “dry fried potato strips”. Unlike Swiss rösti in which potatoes are grated, Chinese cooks always julienne the potatoes with a cleaver / knife (the same technic is used in the classic dish of Chinese potato stir-fry). For this Chinese potato pancake recipe, I suggest you cut the strips as narrow as possible since they become soft more easily. However, it’s totally fine if you prefer grating the potato with a regular grater.
Choose starchy potatoes
Chinese potato pancake has a rather crispy texture which I like very much. To achieve this, you need to make it much thinner than Swiss rösti. I usually use potatoes high in starch and low in moisture (not the waxy ones like red bliss or new potatoes).
Use your preferred spice
What makes Chinese potato pancake outstanding is the generous usage of spices. The authentic version calls for dried chilli and ground Sichuan pepper. I like using fresh chilli too when I have some to hand. Bird’s eye chilli (dried or fresh) is my favourite choice. Try it if you fancy something super hot. Otherwise, use chilli which has a milder taste.
When it comes Sichuan pepper, freshly ground powder provides the best zing to this dish (I have a post on How to grind Sichuan pepper properly). I have also made this dish with cumin powder. It’s a great pair with chilli too.
Spicy Chinese potato pancake (干煸洋芋丝)
- 2 medium-sized potatoes, about 400g/14oz
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 1 stalk spring onion, finely chopped
- Fresh chilli or dried chilli, finely chopped, to taste
- Ground Sichuan pepper or cumin powder, to taste
- Salt, to taste
- Peel the potatoes. Thinly slice them, then cut the slices into fine julienne strips (see note 1 & 2).
- Heat up ½ tablespoon of oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Stir in ¼ of the potato strips, along with ¼ of the spring onion and fresh chilli. Sprinkle with ground Sichuan pepper (or cumin powder) and salt.
- When the potato strips become slightly soft, press them with a spatular to form a flat, round shape.
- Flip over (with the help of a plate if necessary) when the first side is golden brown.
- Transfer to a plate when the second side is done. Repeat the procedure to cook another three pancakes.
Simple dishes like this one are so comforting. Writing this post has made me very hungry. Hope you find it appetizing too!