Traditional and basic potato kúkú is a very simple recipe made of 5 eggs to 2 large potatoes, plus grated onion and spices, mixed and fried in patties or all poured in the fry-pan, cut into wedges and flipped. But that is not how my Mother made it. She thought it was too plain and something was missing. She made ‘stuffed’ potato kúkús. I don’t know anyone else who could make stuffed potato kúkús. Each time she made them, she stuffed with different ingredients. I liked the meat filling best. Everyone wanted to know if my mother had a secret, why her kúkús didn’t fall apart while frying. I don’t think my Mom ever thought of it as her secret. That was just how she made them. To this day, neither my sister nor I know what her recipe was or how she made them. We never paid attention.
I made an attempt to see if I could make the ‘stuffed’ kúkú. The first time was a disaster. However, it turned out to be a great trial for me to learn where the problems were. This recipe uses only 1 egg and very little oil.
Stuffed Potato Kúkú | Kúkú Sibzamini túpór کوکو سیبزمینی توپر
Recipe by: Fae’s Twist & Tango (fae-magazine.com)
For the potato kúkú
• 700g/ 2 large high starch potatoes (russet potatoes)
• ½ tsp salt
• 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
• pinch turmeric
• 1 large egg
• 2 ~ 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
For the stuffing
(For vegetarian, fill with mushrooms, butternut squash or your own creation… and don’t forget caramelized onion!.)
• 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
• 200 g / 7 oz ground beef or turkey
• ½ small onion, finely chopped
• 5 cm medium-sized carrot, chopped finely or grated (for color)
• ¾ ~ 1 cup water
• seasoning: ½ tsp each of – salt, cumin, tomato paste, hot pepper paste, Italian bread crumbs, minced parsley stems
For the potato kúkú
◊ Boil the potatoes with skin until a thin, sharp knife goes through like going through butter.
Peel the skin and mash the potatoes in a microwave-safe bowl. Add salt, pepper, turmeric and mix well.
Cover the bowl with paper towel and microwave for 2 minutes. With a silicone spatula, scraping the sides of the bowl, fluff the mashed potatoes. Repeat this 2 more time. Microwaving process evaporates excess liquid in the potatoes, almost by 200g, so that the patties do not fall apart during frying. Let the mashed potatoes cool down.
For the stuffing
◊ While the potatoes are cooking… Heat a small sauce pan on medium-high and add oil. When hot, add meat and onion and saute until the meat starts browning. Lower heat to medium, add carrot, water, and cook for 15 minutes. Lower heat to medium-low, add all seasoning ingredients, mix well and cook for another 15 minutes or longer, until all liquid has evaporated but not scorched.
To make stuffed kúkús
◊ In a small bowl, beat the egg briefly with a fork and add to the cooled mashed potatoes. Mix well with the spatula. Make 8 equal, tight balls.
◊ Note the photo below: Flatten a ball on your palm (not too thin) and form a reservoir. Put on a plate/board. Add a ball of meat mixture (as much as fits, no more than ¼ of the meat) Make another reservoir and place it as a lid. Press the edges to tightly seal the rim. Don’t press the center of the patties. Make three more patties.
◊ Note the photo below: In a fry-pan, eye-ball and add 2 ~ 3 Tbsp oil. Heat the oil on medium. When oil is hot, place two patties (not all 4 as space is needed to flip carefully). Two flat, large spatulas are needed. When one side is browned, holding one spatula in each hand, carefully lift one patty and flip it onto the other spatula. Then, using the first spatula, push/slide the patty into the oil to brown the other side.
◊ Serve with Persian vegetable pickles and/or a generous amount of salad.
~ ! نوش جان • Noushe jan! ~
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 Potato starch content varies, which affects the texture in cooking:
♦ High-starch potatoes, such as russets, have a light, mealy texture. Once boiled, they are ideal for mashing.
♦ Medium-starch potatoes, such as Finnish yellow and Yukon gold, contain more moisture so they don’t fall apart quite as easily as high-starch potatoes.
♦ Low-starch potatoes, such as round red, round white, and new potatoes, are often called waxy potatoes. They hold their shape better than other potatoes when boiled, making them perfect for potato salads or tossing with seasoned butter as a side dish.
 When parsley leaves are used for cooking, don’t discard the stems. Finely chop them and freeze them in sealed sandwich plastic bags for future cooking needs.
So, what’s cooking in your kitchen?