First Date. Potato Cakes

Free and fierce as a nomad on the Sahara. Careless like a yogi who has chosen exile in the Himalayas. Like a banned bandit wondering in the Andes. Vigorous as the swirling sun in a Van Gogh painting. – That’s how I feel when I cross the line and enter the sanctuary where the universe is regained and aligned, free from frail & feeble beings, where every particle preaches LOVE.

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When outside burdened world gets too much to take, to take a break, I get back in touch with my sanctuary. Attacks withstood, storms endured knocked-off, pale, weary, fragile me celebrates the joy my heart yearns for;  responds to the holiest, purest call what my soul has longed for, quenches the thirst that my throat has been carrying around for years.

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My potential ‘boyfriend’ who I met online came to meet me all the way from America. On the first date I decided to take him out for breakfast-  to my sanctuary-  a destination unknown to him. Just to see what kind of a soul resides in his body.

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As the first light of dawn turned the sky golden, we got on a local bus, took the highway to heaven, shared some chitchatting and laughter with some ‘never seen before’ passengers who always wear colorful clothing with dazzling clarity. For an hour or so, we rode past miles after miles of gorgeous greenery, vastness, huts with haystack roof, open air village markets, women walking carrying mud pitchers on the head filled with drinking water, fertility, healing and wisdom….

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The driver dropped us off in the middle of nowhere. We were back to a world that was unchanged since the time of Christ.

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Here the infinite sky rests its root in the river. The blazing sun kisses the knee-high rice saplings from up above. The air is dense with hoots and cheers and tweets of birds. Full-fledged larger-than-life trees cast lacy shadows on the silver waves of the river. Lazy, scented wind sifts through the wildflower bushes. Here human souls can see, hear, touch, feel the unchained melody coming from heaven beneath. (I saw the irises of his jet-lagged eyes widen).

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We gazed down at the river bank. A Shabby, mud-built, humble hut on the horizon gazed up at us. This is a restaurant for small peasants, laborers and beggars to whom God cannot appear except in the form of bread and rice. I have been coming here, alone, to dine out for years now. The owner, the chef, standing strikingly strong and tall, like the timeless statue of Jesus Christ, invited us in. I have been watching him cooking and serving ‘love & life support’ for years now. (Cookery is an ancient, spiritually enriched, enchanting art indeed!)

He cooked us Potato Cakes. The smell of life hung everywhere. And my heart started throbbing!

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Smoking hot & spicy potato cakes served on pearl white rice. Match made in heaven. So well-seasoned! Perfectly spiced! Memorably good taste & texture never weighs me down!

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2 cups mashed potatoes

1/2 teaspoons salt

1 finely chopped green chili

1 medium onion, chopped

Handful of chopped fresh Mint

Few drops of lemon/lime juice

2 tablespoons mustard oil

1 egg – beaten

some bread crumbs for coating

Vegetable oil for frying

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*Mix first 7 ingredients. Chill/refrigerate it overnight for the best results. Let the flavors mingle.

*Use your hands to form 1/2-inch thick patties. (Apply a little oil for smooth finishing)

*Dunk patties into egg and then roll them into bread crumbs. shake excess crumbs. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet/pan over medium-high heat until almost smoking.

*Add the potato cakes to the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low.

*Cook until they have formed a golden crust, 15 to 20 minutes. Turn and cook the other side until golden brown, another 15 minutes.

*Serve hot with rice/salad/coleslaw/tea.

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You can add any herb with Potato cakes. But Fresh Mint from my garden  fills up my senses delightfully.Why Mint? – My peasant-chef prefers Mint over any other herbs when it comes to Potato cakes.

As the sunset painted the sky all over with intense ruby red hue, I saw tear drops falling from his deep soulful eyes. May be like me he has scars caused by agony, fire, fear of failure, greed, struggle, suffering, sickness. May be he too dies an unthinkable death once in a while. May be that humble restaurant with a simple meal recovered, refreshed and lifted up his spirits stimulating his appetite.

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May be the departed part of his soul has been resurrected here. Right in front of that  worn-out sanctuary – that Cathedral- that Temple, when he asked if I would be willing to sail away with him again, I replied, ‘YES’.

An unprepared fun, whimsical ride turned into a blissful adventure of a lifetime.

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176 Comments on “First Date. Potato Cakes

  1. Just made these last Saturday in the grill. But, love your so much photos, want to have the whole plate :)

  2. ছবিতে চোখে পড়ার মত পরিবর্তন। আগে ছবি দেখে ভালো লাগতো…. আর এখন হিংসা লাগে :D

    • ‘চোখে পড়ার মত পরিবর্তন’ আনতে একজনের অসীম অবদান আছে, জানেন তো? :)
      শুভেচ্ছা, ভালোবাসা রইল।

  3. NUSRAT JI
    As everytime you click a pic with a beautiful stories to spice up the fun of reading… pls do keep writing good stuffs with great pic’s. All the best for next article. Waiting patiently. :)

  4. natural lights come from out of the world, those lights make your photos outstanding. hats off to you

  5. each n every item that u make and present is really soothing to the eye… wish i could taste it out… the worst part is i cant cook :( but your presentation.. the color of the food and its surroundings… to me.. you would have got 10+/10 if that would have been a way to give marks.. keep it up apu.. wish to see more coming :) best of luck with more delicious food… wait to see more :)

    • Thank you, sweetheart for such kind, soothing, heart-melting words. Please stick around. (I adore your photography as well)

  6. Lovely story. Someone can get lost in those words :) You heard it many times from me, how I adore your writing and the pictures :)

    • And I love you too for you are such an inspiration yourself. Your presence brightens up all six corners :)

      Hugs.

  7. Gorgeous writing, even more gorgeous photos! I particularly like the second one. Oh, and the recipe? Darn good! I haven’t made potato cakes in years. TIme to again, yes? Thanks for this.

    • Here comes the sun!
      How may I thank you for your kind presence and warm words? – Yes, everyday is a potato cakes day :) – If you need fresh mint, do let me know. My mint plants are growing like hell !

  8. ওহ! ডারলিং! তুমি এমন করে বর্ননা করলে যেনো আমিও সেই গোধুলী লগ্নে তোমাদের পাশেই ছায়া হয়ে ছিলাম। রুবীর মত টকটকে সেই আকাশ, তোমার বন্ধুর চোখের টলমল অশ্রু আমি নিজ চোখে দেখেছি! :D

    আর সামান্য আলুর চপ তোমার অসাধারন হাতে পড়ে কি ভাবে অসাধারন স্বর্গীয় রুপ ধারন করে সেটা দেখে আমি মুগ্ধ হতেও যেন ভুলে গেলাম।
    বিগ হাগস! <3

  9. My fav!!! Will try your recipe next time. Thanks!! And yeah the pictures are awsm as usual xx :)

  10. I want potato cakes NOW, or i will keeeel you :( combination of a great story teller, cook and a brilliant food photographer…RARE of-course!

    • Thank you kindly ! What lovely words, darling :) Pls visit me right now, I’m planning to fry a few Potato cakes this evening :D

  11. I read and re read to get the feel of the intensity and beauty of the place. Nusrat, you are really an intense person who transports what’s inside into words. Very well written and I cannot leave here without telling how good the patties look. Loved everything about your post dear.

  12. Each and every photo here is great and with ur recipe its just got perfection..:)…really love ur food recipe the way u design ur menu..and the way u capture such amazing photographs..All in all u just becoming a perfectionist..!..thats really Amazing ..wish u very joyful journey to ur desire carrier..:)

  13. Nusrat, loves the photographs. I think you should take photography seriously than cooking. Superb photos. I am also a food blogger. Have a look at my recipes too. Could you share some tips on how to take such excellent photos?

    • Hi Jameela ! Nice to see you here :) Many thanks for stopping by here and dropping those kind words about my photography-attempts :)
      I’m heading to your blog right now!

  14. I’m a huge fan of Potato ! and Potato cakes ? My my !! Its one of those snacks I can eat hundreds at a time !! your potato cakes looks too god .. I love the texture .. the yellow and the brown color just increased the appeal !! Loved the Coleslaw … I love coleslaw and I always want them stone cold and colorful .. Your Coleslaw is too appealing … I can’t resist dear ! And yes … Potato Cakes best goes with Tea .. Though I’m not a huge fan of Raw Tea but I’ll give it a try with my potato cakes !! :)

    • We should meet, Durlov :) I don’t wanna miss a chance to make you some Potato cakes and watch you eat :D – Thanks a bunch for coming by. Take care of your cute self :)

  15. আমি বুঝতে পারছিনা যে কোনটার প্রশংসা করবো,ফটোগ্রাফির নাকি ডিশ এর।
    যাই হোক
    দুটোই অসাধারণ।

  16. Hi Suborna, it’s always nice to see your excellent work of art and food preparation, I’m amazed that you are talented not just with cookery but with photography too, well done and keep up the good work :)
    Best wishes and regards….
    Kabir ..

    • Hello Kabir! Nice to see you again! :) Thank you so very much for your heart-melting compliment :) How nice of you!

  17. It is a real toss up! I don’t know if your poetic words, tantalising pictures or your recipes that inspire me the most. I think it is all three that makes your site a wonderful place to visit. I also think, “Cookery is an ancient, spiritually enriched, enchanting art indeed.” Take care, BAM

    • Hi Bam ! I’m really really thrilled and inspired to have here. And I got teary reading your kind, soft, honest, genuine compliment. I love visiting your blog too. Thanks for bearing with my mischievous comments and replies :D

    • Mine too :)
      I’m thankful and grateful to the Almighty for the fact that you took time in visiting my post :) Hugs

  18. Loved ur writing! It touched my soul! Love potato cakes!!!!❤️❤️❤️❤️Excellent presentation!

  19. You’ve treated us to a wonderful post, Nusrat. Your presentation and photography are flawless, while your moving comments are really quite beautiful. Thank you for sharing with us such a lovely personal story.

    • Why are you always so kind and nice to me! Wait, I know the answer; you are a beautiful blogger yourself and I’m blessed to have you in my circle. Tons of thanks for such heartwarming compliment :)

  20. Beautiful post, Nusrat and even more beautiful photos. I am sure the taste is even better :) Keep posting your recipes!

      • I’m fine now, Nusrat! Thanks for asking. Always a pleasure seeing new posts from you :)

    • I’m married to him! And it’s going crazy good :) Thanks a ton, your excellency, for leaving your positive energies here for me :)

  21. Before I comment, I need to know how you are lighting your objects? :P Are you using any special lights?

      • The first thing I noticed in all those photos in this series is the perfect use of light and depth or field. You did excellent work in keeping focus on where should the eye of the viewer go. I can not taste your food, so can not tell how tasty they are….but they sure makes the viewers’ mouth water!

        It is very difficult to say if you are a better cook or a better photographer! :D So may be you should try to arrange the cooking of someone else and photograph that! :P

  22. পড়তে পড়তে মনে হচ্ছিল যেন আমি ওখানে চলে গিয়েছি ……চোখের সামনে ভাসছিল দৃশ্যগুলো …সত্যি অসাধারন …আর আমি চাই ওই আলুর চপগুলা ……আমার ভীষণ প্রিয় জিনিষ … :D

  23. Sometimes I use Egg-Vegetable keema inside the cakes. It also creates some symphony.

    And, I don’t know what to say about your lovely photographs :D

  24. Nuusi…..how may i react after reading n seeing the photoes of ur creation …i truly believe u r an amazing ..unfathomable talented being…boy am i glad or not to know u …ur writing always make their mark in my heart n bring a blissful smile on my lips…n the mouth watering recipes that u share …hun believe me im bounded by technology, other than that its already been done that i inserted my hand through the screen n grab all the goodness on the plate hihihihihi …love u sweetheart… :)

  25. Amazingly written… your pictures are brilliant and your words bring out the purity of your heart… I haven’t felt something touch my soul the way your blog did for a long time now :) please do keep writing this way…

  26. Oh my! I am hooked to your website for the beauty of your pics. Such lively pics. Your “yellow-full” pic from Grilled Red Snapper post is my wallpaper now. Beautiful pics. Glad to have found you. :)

    • I’m honored, Charul to have you here :) Many thanks for those kind words. And happy to know about the wallpaper thingy :) Hugs.

    • ধন্যবাদ, রান্নাত ভাই :D আপনার রান্না দেখে আমার হিংসা হয়।

      • হা হা হা…। কি যে বলেন, আমি তো চেষ্টা করছি মাত্র। দেশ বিদেশের ব্যচেলর ভাই বোনদের যদি কোন উপকারে লাগতে পারি তবেই তো জীবনের সার্থকতা খুঁজে পাব।

        আপনার রান্নার ধারে কাছেও আমি নেই। আপনার রান্নার রং দেখেই আমি অভিভূত হয়ে যাই।

        শুভেচ্ছা।

  27. সাধারনকে অসাধারন করে তুলতে আপনার জুড়ি নেই। দারুন লেখা আর দুর্দান্ত সব ছবি। আরও চমৎকার কিছুর আশায় রইলাম……।।

  28. টু ইন ওয়ান আপা (কুক+ফটোগ্রাফার)। :P দারুন লিখসেন। ইচ্ছে করছে আলুর চপগুলা এখুনি কপ কপ করে খেয়ে ফেলি। বিশেষ করে রেসিপিটা ভালভাবে পড়লাম। নিজে একবার ট্রাই মারবো। যদিও কতটুকু পারবো জানিনা। আমার দৌড় ডিম ভাজি পর্যন্ত। :(

    • অনেক ধন্যবাদ, ভাইয়া :) আলুর চপ বানানো পান্তাভাতের মত সহজ। সমস্যা হলে জানিও।
      শুভেচ্ছা :)

  29. I love potato cakes. I had a neighbour when I was growing up who would invite me over for dinner and she made the best potato cakes. Simple fare yes, but utterly delicious. And that’s a lovely story xx

    • Thanks Charlie for sharing your story :) You must have been a quiet, adorable kid and that’s why that neighbor of yours loved to feed you :) Lotsa thanks for stopping by. Hugs :)

  30. I can’t decide which one astonishes me more, the beautifully put words, the vibrant photographs or the taste of the food built in my mind by the word-picture combo of this post. Its a treat to eyes, to mind. Wonderful!

    • You sure know how to make someone’s day with your pretty presence! Thanks a bunch for taking time in checking my post out, sweetheart :) Hugs.

  31. Your writing was a verbal picnic and your photos were a visual treat. I love “love stories” that begin with potatoes… mine happened to be hash browns, but same concept… and same result! xo Wonderful post!

    • Thank you, lovely! Great to find another hardcore potato lover in the league! And thanks a bunch for your inspiring, kind, soft, soothing words :) Love ‘n hugs :)

  32. So goldenlicious…These potato cakes are making me drool!!! I’ll pair mine with the cold coleslaw and mint tea. The pictures are very lovely, Nusrat!

    • Thanks much! I’m happy to have you around :) Please stick around. I have a lot to learn from you as far as producing rainbow like pictures goes :)

  33. Shamans never fly away , they do remain in the great meditation to see the miseries of the world….
    I’d like to get away from earth awhile
    And then come back to it and begin over.
    May no fate willfully misunderstand me
    And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
    Not to return. Earth’s the right place for love:
    I don’t know where it’s likely to go better(Robert Frost).
    ————————————————————————
    what should I say it is all chiseling of words and you have painted a picture on the big canvas and kept it open for the interpretations….I never had potato cakes, want to have it….

    • Robert Frost…my first crush :) thanks for the quote, Naseer :)
      I’d like to offer you some potato cakes and you’ll see simplicity is the only beauty that humans should cherish for :)
      Thanks much for your visit :)

  34. অসাধারণ ছবি। I love your photograhy, আপু <3

  35. Extraordinarily taken & beautifully written! That’s how you always create your sublime Art(s). And I consider myself is NOT worthy enough to evaluate your divine pictures and words, of course. Hats off to you, Apu :)

    • You are such a kind, nice, beautiful soul Proloy! Blessed to have you in my friend circle. Thanks a bunch for being my friend :)

  36. Another appealing recipes and colorful photos. They looks so delicious.

  37. Pingback: Lemon Bars | Allspice and Nutmeg

  38. extrememly well written Nusrat..I love the way u have written…need to learn loads from you..:)

  39. Lovely post! I’ve tried to make potato cakes and they just fell apart when sautéing, so maybe the trick is that overnight refrigeration? Thank you!!

  40. Nusrat, I’d love for you to share some photography tips! Your photography is amazing and I always enjoy each and every photo you post! Your food looks so delicious making me want to try the recipe right away!

    • So happy and flattered! Many thanks for your kind, heart warming compliment, Dear Nami :) I’m just a beginner photographer who is learning to hold the camera steadily :D But I’m so humbled to know that you liked my photography! Thanks again :)

  41. “A recipe has no soul.You as the cook, must bring soul to the recipe.”- Unknown source
    Nusrat apu, You always fulfill this brilliantly. Love

    • Thanks, your Excellency, for letting me know your liking :) Do pay me a visit and I’ll make you perfect potato cakes. Hugs.

  42. This totally made my day (maybe weeks, if that makes sense!)!! I just gotta ask, was the first part totally your imagination? Or you really went out with a date who cooked you potato cakes? :P

  43. Heavenly!! মানে একদম বেহেশ্তি !! আপু পুদিনা পাতা দেখে আমার ছোটবেলায় ফিরতে মন চাচ্ছে!! আর আপনার এই সব সুন্দর ছবি দেখলে আমি ভাল ভাল স্বপ্ন দেখি বুজছেন!! <3

    • বুঝছি :) তুমি একটা কিউটি-পাই। বড্ড মিষ্টি করে কথা বলো … মন ভরে যায়। আদর নিও।

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