Saturday, August 20, 2011

Twice Baked Potatoes

Potatoes need no introduction and bla bla bla about how good and bad they are.  I just would like to let you all know about toxicity in potatoes. I am sure many of us did not realise that potato plant poisoning occurs when someone eats the green tubers or new sprouts of the potato plant. The poison is found throughout the plant, but especially in green potatoes and new sprouts. Never eat potatoes that are spoiled or green below the skin, always throw away the sprouts  (the green is due to a high concentration of the glycoalkaloid poison).  Potatoes that are not green and have had any sprouts removed are safe to eat.  Read more from

I had the most embarassing moment showing my ignorance of my cantonese language.  I have always known the Potato in cantonese is 'Shi Chai' and i also know that there is a vegetable which is called  'Shi Chai Choy'.  If i translate 'Shi Chai Choy'  into english, it would be 'The leaves or shoots of the potato plant'.  OK, here is the embarassing moment - when a friend in Los Angeles told me that he was able to plant 'Shi Chai Choy' and the plant thrived very well in his garden, i was excited and asked if he ever got any potatoes from the root.  He laughed his head off and i did not know how stupid i was.  Then he told me - aunty lily, 'shi chai' is 'small tree' - shi for tree and chai for small/baby.  See, you never cease to learn no matter how old you are but i still do not know why potato is called 'shi chai'.  Calling it 'holland shi' made more sense - the dutch could have introduced it when they were in Malacca.

Now back to the recipe that i am sharing, Twice Baked Potatoes.  It is a very popular side dish that goes well with any meat or poultry and is healthier than fries.

4 large russet potatoes, scrubbed and dried
4 tbsps unsalted butter
1/3 cup sour cream
1 stalk spring onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
2 tbsp fried shallots
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


First, wash and scrub the potatoes under running water (no soap of course!).  Then pat them dry with paper towel.

Puncture a few holes in the potatoes, with the tip of a sharp knife or a fork. This is important, as it allows the steam to escape, otherwise the potatoes may explode when you cook it and will cause quite a mess.

Place the potatoes on a microwave-safe dish and then place it in the microwave oven.  Cook on high for 5 minutes.  Using oven gloves, turn potatoes over and continue to cook on high for another 5 minutes.
Remember, each microwave oven is different, so you need to stick a knife in the potato to see if it is done. The knife should slide in easily and you should be able to squeeze the potato without too much resistance. If not so, continue to cook for 1 - 2 minutes more. Then let it sit covered with foil, for a couple of minutes, for it to actually finish cooking.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cut the potatoes into halves lengthwise to make a canoe-like shape. Carefully scoop out most of the potatoes into a bowl. Take care to leave enough potato in the skin so the shells stay together.

Mash the scooped out potatoes lightly with fork along with the butter and sour cream. Stir in the chopped spring onions and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Season the skins with salt and pepper. Refill the shells with the potato mixture.

Sprinkle the cheese on top of the potato filling.

Set the prepared potato halves on a baking sheet, and bake until heated through, about 20 minutes. Top with fried shallots and serve immediately. Alternatively, if the potatoes are still warm, i would use the broiler to melt and brown the cheese.


ping said...

Hhahaha ... I'm just as bad with my cantonese dialect and I'm living smack in the midst of it all. Imagine my moments each time I go out! The potatoes look so tempting and I particularly love those little charred bits!

Rebecca Lee said...

Lily, thanks for posting it and you combined Chinese and Western in this baked potato,Chinese uses fried shallots very often. Will do that when I bake my baked potato next time. I often add in some chopped ham or chopped fried bacon into the mash potato before baking them.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lily, you really made my day! I was so sleepy after lunch at work that your "shi chai" story made me laugh to tears . Just wondering how a person who cooks like yourself didn't know about shi chai choy. Out of curiousity, does anyone eat the leaves/stalk of the potato plant?

Will try to see if can get the turkey cheap (like the 98 cents/lb duck you got). Then can try your brine method.

Best Wishes-Mei Kuen (Peng's niece)

lilyng said...

mei kuen

leaves from the potato plant is toxic and can kill

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