Potato Patties With Pizazz

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - April 28, 2010
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It seemed like a regular Tuesday morning for attorney Amanda Weston at the law office of John H. Price in downtown Honolulu. She was scheduled for computer training, yet as she waited for the IT trainer to arrive she noticed a group of familiar faces emerge from the elevators. Among them were her husband and her “Little Sister” Jasmine.

The computer training was a ruse. Instead, Amanda was being honored by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Honolulu as the 2010 Big Sister of the Year for her dedication to Little Sister Jasmine and their friendship lasting more than eight years.

Amanda met Jasmine as a 10-year-old child in the midst of her parents’ separation, drug abuse and illness. Through the years, the two have built a relationship by sharing their favorite activities with one another.

Today, Jasmine is a confident and beautiful 18-year-old.


Jasmine’s mother says, “This match is an example of the program at its best. Jasmine can depend on Amanda. They are the best of friends. Having Amanda in Jasmine’s life has allowed her opportunities and experiences that I couldn’t provide for her.”

Now that she is an adult, Little Sister Jasmine’s formal match with Amanda will close, but the friendship will no doubt last a lifetime.

This column is dedicated to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Honolulu’s 2010 Big Sister of the Year, Amanda Weston. By sharing her time with a child in need, she helped shape a life. To learn more, visit http://www.bigshonolulu.org.

Coriander is native to the Mediterranean, and its seeds are among the world’s earliest known spices. There is evidence that the ancient Greeks used it as a remedy as early as 1,400 B.C.

Whole or ground coriander seeds are used to add flavor to foods such as seafood, fish, rice, chicken, curries and baked goods. It is also an ingredient of curry and garam masala, essential spice mixtures in Indian cuisine. The dried seeds keep for about a year.

Garam masala (literally meaning hot spice) is a special spice blend used in Indian cuisine. There are many different versions of garam masala depending on the region and personal taste. Garam masala can be found in ethnic food sections of most supermarkets or specialty food stores. A blend of dry-roasted ground spices, most commercial garam masalas usually contain dried red chili, fresh green chili, garlic, ginger, sesame, mustard seeds, tumeric, coriander, cloves, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, cumin, nutmeg and fennel. Garam masala can be used during cooking or sprinkled on top of the food after cooking.


* 5 medium-size potatoes, peeled and cooked until tender
* 1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and diced into small pieces
* pinch salt (or to taste)
* 1 tablespoon garam masala
* 2 tablespoons coriander powder
* 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
* 8 Chinese parsley leaves, finely chopped
* 1/3 cup panko crumbs
* canola oil, for frying

Drain potatoes, place in large bowl and mash well. Mix salt, garam masala, coriander, pepper and cilantro until well-combined and add to potatoes, mixing until all spices are incorporated. Add diced chicken and mix to blend. Shape mixture into patties about 3 inches in diameter and 1/2-inch thick, and coat with panko flakes. Heat about 2 tablespoons oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Fry patties until golden brown on both sides, adding oil as needed.

Makes about 10 patties.

Approximate Nutrition Information Per Patty:

Calories: 190
Fat: 6 grams (depending on how much oil is used)
Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
Sodium: 150 milligrams (depending on how much salt is added)

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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