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Who Loves Potato Cakes ?

A Delicious Hot Golden Crrrrunchy Indulgence from Way Way Back

Part of growing up and going to school in Melbourne (Australia) involved taking the number 8 tram to Toorak Village on a Friday afternoon and heading STRAIGHT to the fish and chip shop. It’s no longer there but I still recall the white tiled shop, the row of huge deep fryers along one wall, the huge dim sum (or ‘dimmies’ as we called them!) steamer on the counter and of course the delicious smells of frying oil, batter and fried fish.

I was most often there with my best friend Tamara and (after checking out all the boys on the tram) we would always order the same thing each week. A couple of steamed dimmies (they were large steamed dumplings filled with meat of unknown origin) and a potato cake or two. Could there be a better after school snack?

Imagine a large disc of pressed soft potato, a bit bigger than the diameter of  a baseball. It is then coated in thick fish and chip shop batter (again, of unknown ingredients) and thrown into the vat of boiling oil. What comes out is a golden, craggy, super super crisp, thick (in a good way) and crrrrrrunchy outside encasing soft, hot as hell, potato inside. Sprinkled with lots of salt and a splash of brown vinegar, I am in heaven. I can’t tell you how much my mouth is watering at this very moment as I am typing.

Nowadays I live in Sydney where I can’t seem to find the same dimmies – and I’m not sure I want to – but in every fish and chip shop you will find potato cakes. Only one thing though, they call them potato SCALLOPS here. No, they are not scalloped potato. No, they are not fresh scallops from the sea. So why oh why are they called scallops when they are clearly CAKES?!?!

They are not something I eat often these days and if I did, it would probably be with a little secrecy. We’ve all gone a little anti fried food, ant-batter and sadly even anti-potato so there’s not much room in my life for potato cakes. Maybe just once in a long while. Whenever I do (secretly) indulge, I savour every single bite. Maybe it’s time to become out and proud of my potato cake desire. I think this weekend just might be the time…

But perhaps my potato latkes are the next best thing?

MMCC2_potato latkes PREP-4

My potato latkes. I made these with potato grated in the food processor – you can see the individual potato strands. I much prefer them hand grated, the end latke is a little nicer!

This post is part of Let’s Lunch (#LetsLunch), a twitter-based virtual lunch club where anyone interested can join this monthly ‘lunch date’. A topic is posted at the beginning of the month, everyone now takes it in turns, and all posts are made on the same day by this random but lovely group of food bloggers, writers and people who just love cooking from all around the world. The topic is hilarious: food we love that we have to hide from the world.

Anyone can join at any time – just join us on twitter by searching and adding the hashtag #LetsLunch. Check out the others’ posts SOON, they will be right below.

Cheryl’s Singaporean Sardine Sandwiches at Cheryl Lu Lien Tan

Betty Ann‘s Adobo Eggs at Asian in America

Karen‘s Goldfish-Inspired Cheese Sables at GeoFooding

Linda‘s Pinakbet (Filipino Vegetable Stew) at Spicebox Travels


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Potato Latkes
These Monday Morning Cooking Club potato latkes (pictured above, in the frying pan) are the closest thing to potato cakes (scallops, pictured here) in my kitchen.
Prep Time Cook Time
20minutes 20minutes
Prep Time
Cook Time
Servings: lots
Servings: lots
  1. Peel and grate the potatoes. Place in a colander for 15 minutes to drain. Squeeze the grated potato with your hands to remove any juice.  Wrap and then wring the potato in a tea towel or paper towels to remove any residual liquid.
  2. Tip the potato into a large bowl. Add the eggs and flour, then season generously with salt and pepper to taste.  Mix well.
  3. You will need a large frying pan. Add enough oil to the pan to reach a depth of around ½ - 1 cm. When the oil is hot, carefully place teaspoons of the potato mixture into the oil to make small round potato cakes. Flatten them slightly. Fry the latkes over a medium heat for a few minutes each side until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
  4. Serve hot, with crème fraiche and smoked salmon. Makes about 40 small latkes.  
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8 Responses to Who Loves Potato Cakes ?

  1. A Tiger in the Kitchen October 18, 2014 at 1:14 am #

    It’s so funny how our schoolgirl years seem so identical — both food driven, complete with checking out boys along the way! (Did mine on the Number 105 bus in Singapore.) LOVE the sound of dimmies (must try to figure out how to hunt them down here somehow — or make them!) and your potato cakes! I’m a sucker for all forms of fried potato and this is a new one…thanks.

    • Lisa Goldberg October 18, 2014 at 8:24 am #

      So funny Cheryl! So when you come to Australia we will schedule a fish and chip shop visit. And in the mean time I will try to find somewhere that still sells dimmies and take a pic for you…

  2. Karen October 18, 2014 at 4:26 am #

    these look simple and sinfully delish! I wish I had great childhood food memories like you two! Cooking was not a priority for my mom and I began cooking out of self-defense!

    • Lisa Goldberg October 18, 2014 at 8:26 am #

      Karen – it’s interesting for me that food was always at the forefront of my mind, wherever I went and whoever I was with. I’m sorry you didn’t have great food memories growing up but hope you are now making up for lost time!

  3. Roger Perrault October 29, 2014 at 6:19 am #

    No onions?

  4. Cherie Lee May 31, 2016 at 3:29 am #

    Scallop is a better culinary description because it comes from the French word escaloper, meaning to cut in fine slices. A potato cake is not, in fact, a cake.


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