Food & Drink, Recipes

The Great Canadian Food Adventure: Squashed potatoes

Squashed potatoes. That’s right. Not mashed. Not smashed. Not even mushed, as they say on Mad About You. But squashed. They’re the easy (and lazy) version of a latke, or potato pancake, even though they look nothing like a pancake. They make a delicious brunch side dish, or even on their own. The not-so-secret spice on them is coriander seed. I was going to be all fancy and buy some whole seeds and smash them in my mortar and pestle, but then I decided that leaving my house just wasn’t in the cards for me that day, so I used the already ground coriander seed I had on my spice rack. They tasted just as delicious. But for those of you are willing to venture forth in this winter weather to get some whole seeds (or for those extra fancy people out there who just happen to have whole coriander seeds at home already), I’m sure smashing them fresh would add just that extra bit of deliciousness. Perfect and crispy, and easy to eat in front of the TV while watching my favourite new (old) show on Netflix.

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Fun Fact of the Day: Coriander is a member of the carrot family. And Canada is a large producer of coriander, especially on the Prairies. Our exports of coriander to the United States have increased 65,000%  in the last 25 years, according to the government of Alberta. The large-seed variety typically grown in Canada takes less time to mature than its small-seed cousin grown in Europe, Asia and Middle East.


  • 6 medium-size potatoes
  • 6 cloves of garlic (less or more, depending on your preference)
  • 1/2 tbs coriander seed
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese


  1. Fill a large pot with water and place it to boil 
  2. In the mean time, wash and scrub all your potatoes and cut out any eyes or bruises.
  3. Boil potatoes whole for about 15 minutes (less or more, depending on their size). You want to make sure they are cooked through, but not overcooked.
  4. Remove potatoes from boiling water, and let cool.
  5. Once they are cool to touch, squash them! You can use a kitchen hammer, the back of a frying pan or, as I did, your hands. Just press down on the potatoes until they basically explode on your cutting board. You’ll want to do the same with the cloves of garlic.
  6. On a medium temperature, heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan. Add enough of the squashed potatoes to fill the bottom of the pan, along with some of the garlic. Keep an eye on the garlic, as it might burn before the potatoes crisp up. Flip once, after about 5 minutes, when the potatoes have developed a nice red crisp skin on the underside.
  7. Keep the first batch warm in the oven, as you make the subsequent squashed potatoes.
  8. Plate the potatoes. Drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle coriander seed and salt and pepper to taste. Top with some Parmesan cheese (or shavings, as I did).
  9. Enjoy!


Paolo Zinatelli is a writer for Spectator Tribune. Follow him at: @paoloz5