Recipes listed in Idea Alley have not been tested by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
I was intrigued by a request from Linda Webb for a dish called Potato Chop that was served in the 1970s at a place called Eat Your Heart Out in downtown Little Rock. The family-run restaurant was known for its Middle Eastern cuisine and dancers.
An earlier request for the recipe described the dish as “potato patties but in a ‘puffy’ spherical shape. The coating was similar to mashed potatoes but thicker, and the filling was like a spicy shepherd’s pie. Apparently baked, forming a light crust outside, and perhaps was smeared with oil or butter.”
The following recipe is slightly different from that description, but it may be close enough that Webb and others can adapt it to their memory.
It is adapted from hildaskitchenblog.com† The name of the dish is a transliteration, as Hilda explains that the dish is called “poteta chap” in Assyrian.
“The word for ‘potatoes’ in Assyrian is ‘kirtopeh’. However, it is possible that Assyrians picked up this term during the British colonization of Iraq during WWI. …
The second part of the name, however, makes a little more sense. The word ‘chap’ sounds the same as ‘chapeh’, which means ‘to clap’ in Assyrian. When making Potato Chop, you use a clapping motion to form the patties. the name of this recipe would be a description of how these potato patties are made.”
However, those familiar with Indian and Bengali cuisine will find that potato chop is very similar to aloo chop, but with different spices.
Assyrian Potato Chop
- For the filling:
- ¾ pound lean ground beef
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon paprika powder
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground red (cayenne) pepper, optional
- 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- For the potato dough:
- 1 (13.75-ounce) box instant potato flakes (Idahoan Mashed Potatoes, recommended)
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups of warm water
- Vegetable oil for frying
In a large skillet, cook beef, onion, salt, black pepper, paprika, allspice, red pepper, and parsley until beef is browned and onion is tender; cool.
In a large bowl, mix the potato flakes, eggs, salt and warm water into a dough by hand.
Fill a golf-ball-sized ball of the potato dough with a generous tablespoon of filling. Flatten the stuffed dough balls between your palms into a disk, using a back and forth flapping motion.
Heat vegetable oil to 375 degrees. Fry the patties, in batches, until browned on both sides, about 2 minutes per side.
Drain the potato cutlets on kitchen paper.
Makes about 24 patties.
I would love to hear all about what you cook. The new recipes, the old ones, the easy ones and the complicated ones. Have a go-to dish when the weather warms up? A dish that has everyone begging for the recipe when you take it to a potluck? Tell us about it.
Has your cooking changed with the recent rises in food prices? Are you learning to reinvent leftovers into new dishes? Have you improvised a new way to make a favorite dish without all the ingredients you normally use?
Is there an old Arkansas dish that you want to research? Maybe something your grandma made that isn’t in modern cookbooks?
Do you have a question about a new cooking term or ingredient?
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