The mighty potato takes many forms: from shredded hash browns to fluffy mash. You could say it’s impossible to get bored with spuds – and you’d be right. This starchy vegetable absorbs flavor from any seasoning or cooking method you use, which is why you can never go wrong serving them as a snack or side. If you’re looking for another way to whip up some taters, make this tasty tornado potato recipe tout suite!
Twists and Turns of Tornado Potatoes
Tornado potatoes are spiral-cut potatoes typically deep fried on a skewer and sprinkled with seasonings. Joe McPherson’s 2007 blog post on ZenKimchi.com highlighted tornado potatoes as a popular South Korean street food. “Everyone is doing these spiral cut fried potatoes. [They’re a] cool concept…After buying a spiral potato, the customer coats it in a dish of cheese powder,” he wrote.
Two years later, tornado potatoes took over the boardwalk in Wildwood, New Jersey. They were, quite literally, everywhere. Why? Because beyond their crunchy cheesiness, they’re ideal for sharing.
“One of the beauties of them,” says Richard Crossley, co-owner of Tornado Fries on the Boardwalk, is “the way that they’re cut.” As he explained to NPR, “They actually stick to the stick that they’re on, so you can pull a piece off at a time… One person can hold the stick and multiple people can actually pull pieces off if they like.” Thankfully, you can save yourself a trip to the boardwalk or your local street fair by making this snack at home.
How To Make Tornado Potatoes
Chef and cookbook author Jamie Oliver’s recipe for “terrific tornado potatoes” calls for baking the spuds instead of frying to save on calories. Plus, he uses Greek yogurt to make a creamy, lemony dip for serving. Follow the instructions below to recreate this street food staple.
Ingredients (Makes 6):
- 6 medium russet potatoes
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 lemon
- Salt and black pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Carefully insert metal skewer lengthwise into end of potato: gently push all the way through.
- Using sharp knife, make small cut at one end of potato until you hit the skewer. Next, carefully twist potato round to continue the cut all the way along, creating a spiral effect.
- Gently pull out spirals so that gaps are even along length of skewer and brush with olive oil until well coated. Repeat with remaining potatoes.
- Finely grate Parmesan into bowl; add paprika, cumin, garlic powder, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Sprinkle mixture over potato spirals and line up on baking tray. Bake 50 minutes, or until cooked through and crispy.
- To make dip, place yogurt in bowl, finely zest over lemon and squeeze in half juice, then mix well. Season to taste.
- Finely grate a little extra Parmesan over potato spirals and serve with zesty yogurt for dipping.
My Taste Test
The trickiest part was cutting the potatoes on the skewer to create the perfect swirl pattern. My cuts were on the thicker side, so I needed to cook the taters for an extra 10 minutes until fully tender. Preparation aside, the potatoes had a garlicky flavor that complemented the citrusy yogurt dip. The potato curls were easy to remove from the skewer and made for a fun eating experience. I’m aiming to perfect my tornado potato swirls the next time I cook this recipe for boardwalk-worthy results.