Kid-friendly Crispy Spanish "Patatas Bravas" + Kid-Made Sweet Ketchup + Savory Garlic Aioli Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Crispy Spanish "Patatas Bravas" + Kid-Made Sweet Ketchup + Savory Garlic Aioli

Recipe: Crispy Spanish "Patatas Bravas" + Kid-Made Sweet Ketchup + Savory Garlic Aioli

Crispy Spanish "Patatas Bravas" + Kid-Made Sweet Ketchup + Savory Garlic Aioli

by Dylan Sabuco
Photo by JackF/Adobe Stock
prep time
20 minutes
cook time
15 minutes
makes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Crispy Spanish "Patatas Bravas" + Kid-Made Sweet Ketchup + Savory Garlic Aioli

If you're lucky enough to visit Spain, you'll soon discover that one of the best ways to enjoy the food there is by going out for tapas. Tapas are small plates of food served in bars in most parts of Spain. (In northern Spain, in the Basque region, they serve "pinchos.") 

The term "tapa" means "lid" or "cover" in Spanish. It is said that bartenders would place slices of bread or cured meat on top of customers' drinks which acted like a lid to keep insects out—hence the name! 

Tapas are very small portions, usually about four bites of food. They can be served hot or cold, skewered on toothpicks, or piled upon plates. Because tapas portions are so small, it's common for people to stand at the bar and enjoy them with a drink instead of sitting down to eat.  

One of the most beloved tapas in Madrid is "patatas bravas," Spanish for "spicy potatoes." It's a dish of crispy, fried potatoes tossed in a spicy tomato sauce and sometimes served with delicious garlic aioli (a mayonnaise-like sauce). Our recipe has a twist: we made the sauce less spicy and turned it into a sweet ketchup dip. So, you'll have two dipping options—Kid-Made Sweet Ketchup and Savory Garlic Aioli. Try both and see which one you like best!  

And as they say in Spain, "¡Buen provecho!," or "Enjoy your meal!"

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • brown :

    to cook food until it turns brown, crisper, and more flavorful from the heat of an oven, a pan, or the oil it is cooked in.

  • chop :

    to cut something into small, rough pieces using a blade.

  • knife skills :

    Bear Claw (growl), Pinch, Plank, and Bridge (look out for trolls)

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • sauté :

    to cook or brown food in a pan containing a small quantity of butter, oil, or other fat.

  • season :

    to add flavor to food with spices, herbs, and salt.

  • whisk :

    to beat or stir ingredients vigorously with a fork or whisk to mix, blend, or incorporate air.

Equipment Checklist

  • Large skillet
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
  • Large bowl
  • Measuring spoons
  • Wooden spoon
  • Can opener
  • Medium bowls (2)
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Whisk
scale
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Ingredients

Crispy Spanish "Patatas Bravas" + Kid-Made Sweet Ketchup + Savory Garlic Aioli

  • 3 to 4 large russet potatoes, or another similar sized potato of your choice
  • 3 T vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • Sweet Ketchup:
  • 1 6-oz can tomato paste
  • 3 tsp honey
  • 1 pinch salt, to taste
  • 2 T water + more if needed
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • Savory Garlic Aioli:
  • 1/2 C mayonnaise **(for EGG ALLERGY sub vegan mayonnaise)**
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 T milk **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free milk)**
  • 1 pinch salt, to taste

Food Allergen Substitutions

Crispy Spanish "Patatas Bravas" + Kid-Made Sweet Ketchup + Savory Garlic Aioli

  • Egg: Substitute vegan mayonnaise for mayonnaise in Aioli. 
  • Dairy: Substitute dairy-free/nut-free milk for milk in Aioli.

Instructions

Crispy Spanish "Patatas Bravas" + Kid-Made Sweet Ketchup + Savory Garlic Aioli

1.
intro

"Patatas bravas" are a Spanish version of simple fried potatoes. This Spanish rendition is unique because after the spuds are fried until they are golden brown, they get tossed in bravas sauce and typically some type of seasoned mayonnaise. Bravas sauce is made by blending peppers and tomatoes to make a red, creamy, spiced sauce. Our recipe will simplify the traditional bravas sauce into a sweet ketchup by simply whipping your favorite seasoning, tomato paste, and honey together.

2.
potato tips

If you aren't using the cut potatoes right away, place them in water to prevent oxidation, which turns them brown or black when exposed to air, then dry them and coat them in oil to sauté. Adults may want to cut whole potatoes into manageable pieces for kids to chop. Watch our video about knife skills (click link under Fun-da-mental Kitchen Skills) and have them use their "bear claws" while chopping.

3.
chop + coat + tip

Start by chopping 3 to 4 large russet potatoes into large wedges or a very large dice. Once chopped, place the potatoes in a large bowl and coat them in 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil. (

4.
sauté + stir

Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat. After the skillet has been heated for a few minutes, add the potatoes and start stirring with a wooden spoon.

5.
season + stir

While the potatoes are cooking, add all of the seasonings: 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, and 1/2 teaspoon paprika. Lower the heat to medium and stir until all the potatoes are coated in the seasonings.

6.
brown + serve

Continue to cook the potatoes until golden brown and fork tender. This will take about 15 minutes of cooking on medium heat. Serve these crispy potatoes alongside Sweet Ketchup and Savory Garlic Aioli (see next steps), or even better, smother the potatoes in sauce to serve them as close to the classic as possible.

7.
measure + whisk

To make the Kid-Made Sweet Ketchup, measure and combine all of the following ingredients in a medium bowl: 1 can tomato paste, 3 teaspoons honey, 1 pinch of salt, 2 tablespoons water, 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder. Whisk all the ingredients until well mixed. Add more water if the ketchup is too thick. Dollop a big scoop of this sweet ketchup on top of the Crispy Spanish "Patatas Bravas."

8.
measure + whisk

To make the Savory Garlic Aioli, measure and combine all of the following ingredients in a medium bowl: 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 3 tablespoons milk, and 1 pinch of salt, to taste. Whisk the mixture gently at first to avoid splashes. Once the milk is incorporated, whisk the aioli until it has a whipped, light consistency. Add a spoonful of this sauce to your favorite dish or on top of Crispy Spanish "Patatas Bravas." "¡Buen provecho!" or "Enjoy" in Spanish!

Surprise Ingredient: Potato!

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Photo by Tatevosian Yana/Shutterstock.com

Hi, my name is Spud! That's my nickname, though. I'm actually a Potato!

“I'm sometimes a bit dirty because I grow down in the soil, but I clean up just fine. You may notice I sometimes have 'eyes' on my skin. That's where I sprout so new potato plants can grow. You can use the end of a vegetable peeler or a knife to remove those sprouts unless you're going to plant me! We are versatile, starchy vegetables that you can leave whole, slice, dice, shred, or mash and bake, boil, fry, grill, or roast!"

History & Etymology

  • Potatoes are the foremost vegetable crop in the world! They are root vegetables native to the Americas.
  • Scientists believe the first potatoes were cultivated about 8,000 years ago by hunters and gatherers near Lake Titicaca—high in the Andes mountains, on the border between Peru and Bolivia. 
  • Those first farmers obtained the cultivated potato by domesticating wild potato plants that grew prolifically around the lake. Over the following millennia, people in the Andes developed potato varieties for growing at different altitudes and in other climates.
  • In 1532, the Spaniards invaded Peru searching for gold, but they took a different treasure back to Europe: the potato! Over the next 300 years, the potato became a staple crop in Europe and soon found its way to India, China, and Japan. China now grows the most potatoes worldwide.
  • The potato has been a staple ingredient in the German diet since the 17th century when King Frederick was known to give seeds to citizens and demonstrate how to plant them for food. 
  • Famines occurred in the mid-1700s, and people in Germany realized the importance of potatoes because they could be grown in harsh environments.  
  • Where are most of the potatoes produced in the United States? In Idaho! Approximately one-third of all potatoes in the US are grown there.
  • The potato was the first vegetable grown in outer space!
  • President Thomas Jefferson was the first person to serve french fries in the United States (in 1802 in the White House).
  • Potatoes are so popular that a plastic toy called "Mr. Potato Head" has been sold by Hasbro since 1952. Initially, they sold it as separate parts, like eyes, ears, mouth, hats, etc., that could be attached to an actual potato with pushpins. Due to too many ruined potatoes and new safety rules, in 1964, Hasbro added a plastic potato body with holes to insert the plastic body parts and clothing. The toy was the first to be advertised on television. 
  • The English word "potato" comes from the mid-16th century from the Spanish "patata," which may have been a hybrid of "batata" (sweet potato) from the extinct Taíno language and "papa" (potato) from the Quechua language.  

Anatomy

  • Potatoes are tubers and are members of the Nightshade family, which also includes tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and tobacco. 
  • The potato plant has a relatively short lifespan of anywhere from 80 to 150 days, determined by the variety of the potato. Furthermore, according to the International Potato Center in Peru, there are more than 4,000 varieties, with most found in the Andes Mountains!
  • Potatoes do not grow from seeds like other vegetables and fruits. Instead, they grow from "seed potatoes," which sprout and form roots underground. 
  • During its first stages of life, sprouts form from the eyes of the primary tuber. First, farmers prepare the earth by tilling it in rows that form ridges. Next, they remove stones from the soil to help the potatoes grow in uniform, oval shapes. Then, the seed potatoes are planted and covered with dirt for protection.
  • Seed potatoes are planted in the Spring so that the warmth from the sun can stimulate the plants to grow. First, roots form from the seed potatoes, and new shoots reach up through the soil toward the warm sun. Soon, green leaves grow on the shoots, establishing the potato plants. Then roots spread underground in the earth, and the potatoes grow from these roots. Potatoes are relatively easy to grow, even in harsh environments.   

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat 

  • Choose potatoes that are smooth, plump, free from blemishes, cuts, and decay, and that don't give when you squeeze them. 
  • Potatoes start getting soft when they go bad, so choose firm potatoes at the grocery store.
  • Smell potatoes before buying them: they should smell fresh and faintly of dirt since they grow in soil. 
  • Waxy potatoes are best for boiling and steaming, as they contain less starch and won't absorb as much liquid. Examples of waxy potatoes are Yukon gold, fingerling, Carola, LaRette, and Austrian Crescent.  
  • Medium-starch, all-purpose potatoes (red, purple, Onaway, and goldilocks varieties) work well when baked, roasted, fried, and used in soups and gratins.
  • Russet potatoes are best for frying (such as in hash browns and french fries), as they contain less starch and will get crisper.
  • Store potatoes in open or hole-punched paper bags (not plastic) to keep air circulating around the potatoes. Plastic bags can trap moisture and cause potatoes to rot quicker. Also, keep the bag in a dark, dry space. Chlorophyll will develop and produce a tell-tale green tinge if you store potatoes in too bright a place. If this happens, a toxic compound called solanine also forms, and it is best to toss any green potato in the garbage.   

Nutrition

  • Potatoes, with their skin, are rich in carbohydrates and a good source of energy. In addition, they have a high content of vitamin C and potassium, and protein that is well matched to human needs.
  • One cup of cooked potatoes contains 32 percent of the daily value of vitamin B6. This vitamin is a major antioxidant (antioxidants help clear the body of harmful substances). We need B6 for our brains and hearts, helping us learn and focus better, keep our moods up, and keep our brains sharp. Vitamin B6 is also required to make all new cells in the body, which happens every minute of our lives!

 

What are Patatas Bravas?

Photo by Sergio Martínez/Adobe Stock
  • "Patatas bravas" is Spanish for "spicy potatoes." They can also be called "papas bravas" or "patatas a la brava." ("Patatas" and "papas" are both Spanish words for "potatoes." "Brava" means "brave," but with "patatas," it translates to "spicy.") 
  • "Patatas bravas" consists of white potatoes cut into cubes, fried in oil, and served with a spicy "brava" sauce. The sauce is typically made with crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce, chili peppers, onion, garlic, oil, vinegar, paprika, and salt.
  • The dish originated in Madrid, Spain, and is typically served as "tapas" (appetizers or small plates) in most of the country.

Let's Learn About Spain!

Photo by MJTH/Shutterstock.com
  • Spain is on the Iberian peninsula in Europe. Its official name is the "Kingdom of Spain," and its capital is Madrid. Spain's government is a constitutional monarchy, with a king, prime minister, and parliament. The population of Spain is more than 47 million people. 
  • Mediterranean settlers migrated to Spain, Africa, and Europe, and a people known as the Phoenicians called the Iberian peninsula "Span" ("hidden land"), so you can see where the name Spain might have come from! 
  • Did you know there is more than just one Spanish language?! The official and most prominent language of Spain is Castilian Spanish. However, Spanish dialects are also spoken, such as Andalusian, Canarian, Castúo, and Murcian Spanish. In addition, there are six other regional, co-official languages recognized in the country, including Aranese, Basque, Catalan, Galician, and Valencian. 
  • The Mediterranean climate in Spain means that summers are hot and dry, especially in the south. However, snow can be found in the winter, especially in the Pyrenees, mountains in the north that border France.
  • Soccer or "fútbol" is the most popular sport in Spain. Some of the other sports Spaniards participate in are tennis, cycling, basketball, and handball. 
  • Spain is known for its rich culture and exciting festivals. The Tomatina Festival is the world's biggest food fight. It's held on the last Wednesday in August every year when people throw over 100 tons of tomatoes on the streets of Buñol. The festival of San Fermin, in Pamplona, in the northern region of Navarre, is an eight-day celebration in honor of Saint Fermin, the co-patron of Navarre. The famous Running of the Bulls event occurs each morning of the festival when a small group of bulls and steers are let loose to run down fenced-off streets toward the bull-fighting ring. Young adults, often tourists, try to race ahead of the animals, dodging the bulls' horns when overtaken. Unfortunately, a few people always end up being injured during the runs.
  • Spanish art, food, literature, and music have become popular all over the world. Examples are the famous Spanish novel, Don Quixote, written in the early 1600s by Miguel de Cervantes; the painter Francisco Goya's works from the late 18th to early 19th century; and Flamenco music and dance from Andalusia, first documented in 1774. 
  • In addition to fideuà and paella, Spain is known for its "gazpacho" (a cold veggie soup), "jamón ibérico" (dry-cured ham), "olla podrida" (a meat and veggie stew), and Manchego cheese (sheep cheese from the La Mancha region). Spanish cooks use a lot of garlic and olive oil, of which they are the largest producer. 
  • "Tapas" refers to a Spanish way of eating, in addition to the name of small dishes served individually as appetizers or combined to make a meal. When friends are out together, they will often share tapas plates at their table. The Spanish word "tapa" can mean "top," "lid," or "cover," and tapas may have begun as a slice of bread or meat to cover a wine glass to keep beach sand or flies out. In many parts of northern Spain, such as Basque Country and Navarre, tapas are called "pintxos" or "pinchos."

What's It Like to Be a Kid in Spain?

  • Most Spanish children speak the Spanish language, also called Castilian, but some may speak Catalan, Galician, or Basque, depending on where they live in the country. 
  • Families are close-knit, and grandparents often take care of children if both parents work. 
  • Kids primarily play soccer but also play basketball, tennis, handball, or other sports. They may visit beaches, zoos, aquariums, museums, and amusement parks for fun. 
  • A popular breakfast is a churro with a chocolaty drink made with ColaCao. "Tortilla de patatas" (potato omelet) is also a favorite. Kids might have a snack at school since they might not have lunch until they get home, and they look forward to "la merienda," a snack between lunch and dinner that often consists of a sandwich, since dinner may not be served until 8 pm. 

THYME for a Laugh

What do you call a baby potato? 

A small fry!

THYME for a Laugh

I dropped a huge bottle of ketchup on my foot.

It caused severe pain to-ma-toes!

THYME for a Laugh

How do you fix a broken tomato? 

Tomato paste!

The Yolk's On You

What do you call a potato that is reluctant to jump into boiling water? 

Hez A Tator

THYME for a Laugh

I've started using garlic in my magic act. I crush it, add basil and some pine nuts, blend them together with some Parmesan and olive oil...

Then…pesto!

That's Berry Funny

What do baseball players call their potato fans? 

Speck-Tators

The Yolk's On You

What is an ice cream cone's favorite vegetable? 

Gar-LICK!

THYME for a Laugh

Why did the tomato blush? 

Because he saw the salad dressing!

The Yolk's On You

Why do potatoes make good detectives? 

Because they keep their eyes peeled.

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