If you have access to Trader Joe’s, you might have noticed bags of teeny tiny potatoes there, appropriately tagged as “Teeny Tiny Potatoes.” Not only are they cute, but the size of these potatoes – no bigger than your thumb – lets you skip the cutting step and saves you some cooking time as well. It’s also easier to cook these tiny potatoes with skin-on because the skin prevents potato starch from getting released while cooking, which helps the potatoes not stick to the bottom of the pan. Plus, you get to eat the good fiber that comes with potato skin.
With these mini potatoes, I made gamja jorim (감자 조림). It is a common banchan (반찬; side dish) that potato pieces – either using small round potatoes or a regular potato cut to bite-size – are first sautéed then reduced in soy sauce, sugar and corn syrup. Depending on the size, potatoes are sometimes parboiled, i.e., boiled to cook a half-way, then transferred to a sauté pan to finish the rest of cooking.
This everyday banchan is also a popular dosirak (도시락; lunch box) item in Korea. And I wouldn’t hesitate to serve this next to a steak as well, instead of mashed potatoes or roasted potatoes for a change. These mini potatoes are so simple, yet so versatile!
Feel free to use other potatoes you can find, but preferably with their skin on and cut to bite-size.
Be patient…wait until every one of the potatoes are brown and wrinkly…
Add the potatoes and sprinkle 1/4 ts of salt and a pinch of ground blackpepper.
Stir to coat all sides of the potatoes with sesame oil.
Reduce heat to medium-low and stir occasionally to get all the potatoes brown evenly.
Have patience and allow enough time for the potatoes to cook, until the skin gets nicely browned and wrinkly all around, which takes about 20 minutes. When you insert a cake tester or a chopstick through a potato and it goes through with a slight resistence, it's ready for the sauce.
Add 1/4 C soy sauce, a small piece of dried kelp (ë‹¤ì‹œë§ˆ; dashima or commonly referred to as kombu in the U.S.) about the size of two thumbs, 2 TBSP water, 1 TBSP honey or corn syrup, and 2 cloves of peeled, grated garlic.
When the sauce gets reduced and thickened with no excess liquid, remove from heat.
Stir to glaze potatoes all around.
Remove kelp and discard.
Taste and adjust seasoning.
Feel free to garnish with thin slices of scallion and/or toasted sesame seeds.