What Are Patatas Bravas?

Sonal Panse

Patatas bravas are a popular snack or appetizer in Spanish cuisine; it is made using white potatoes and a spicy tomato sauce. This type of an appetizer is known as tapas in the Spanish language, and it is commonly served with drinks in a bar. Such potato dishes come in different forms, there are boiled, fried, and baked patatas bravas. There are also different ways of making the accompanying tomato sauce.

Potatoes are a key ingredient in patatas bravas.
Potatoes are a key ingredient in patatas bravas.

To make the dish in its basic form, the white potatoes are first peeled and immersed in salt water for half an hour or so. The potatoes are next dried and boiled until they soften a little. They are then chopped into small pieces and the chopped potato pieces are seasoned with salt and pepper before being fried in vegetable oil, usually olive oil. The potatoes are fried until they turn golden-brown and crispy, and they are then set aside on paper towels to drain away any excess oil. In some cases, the potatoes may be baked instead of fried; they may also be used just boiled.

Paprika is usually used in the sauce for patatas bravas.
Paprika is usually used in the sauce for patatas bravas.

The patatas bravas sauce is basically made by pureeing ripe tomatoes and adding a variety of vegetables and spices to the tomato puree. The main ingredients used in the sauce differ according to regional and personal preference, and generally include pepper, salt, sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, chilies, red pepper, paprika, TABASCO®, mayonnaise, onions, cumin, garlic, coriander and parsley. The sauce is often very hot and spicy, but this can be adjusted depending on the required taste.

The tomato sauce may be used as it is, or it may be heated for a few minutes and then poured warm over the potatoes. It may also be allowed to cool before it is used, or, in some cases, it may be refrigerated and then poured over the potatoes. It is generally best to pour the sauce over the boiled, fried, or baked potatoes right before they are going to be served; if the sauce is poured well beforehand, the potatoes will absorb too much of the sauce and turn soggy. In addition to the spicy tomato sauce, the patatas bravas dish may be eaten with cheese, omelets, fried chicken, fried fish, fried mussels and a variety of other food toppings. Patatas bravas can be ordered in many Spanish bars and restaurants.

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