February 2nd is the day to celebrate “National Tater Tot Day”. So I thought what could be the best day than today to share some recipes I have been experimenting?
Tater tots are a side dish made from deep-fried, grated potatoes. They are widely recognized by their crispness and cylindrical shape. “Tater Tots” is a registered trademark of Ore-Ida (a division of the H. J. Heinz Company) that is often used as a generic term.
My kids totally love Tater Tots and it was time for me to invent little healthier version of it. I tried few recipes and finally my favorite is made with leftover rice! As my house is filled with different age group, seniors, adults and kids…I also love to prepare rice quinoa tater tots. Taste so amazing!
Let me start with very basic recipe of Tater Tots.
- 1 lb russet potatoes , peeled about 2 big potatoes
- 1/2 tbsp all-purpose flour or other good binding flour can be used such as Chickpea flour or corn starch
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/8 tsp dried oregano
- (I just use complete seasoning which has onion, garlic and herbs)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
- 1 cup vegetable oil to fry tots
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley leaves or your favorite herb
Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil and cook until parboiled, about 6-7 minutes; drain well and let cool.
Using a box grater, finely shred potatoes. Using a clean dish towel or cheese cloth, drain potatoes completely, removing as much water as possible.
Transfer potatoes to a large bowl. Stir in flour, garlic powder, onion powder, and oregano; season with salt and pepper, to taste. The mixture should be workable but dry. Form potatoes into tots.
Heat vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat.
Add tots, 5 or 6 at a time, and fry until evenly golden and crispy, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.
Love tater tots but wish they were healthier? Let’s look at some options…Try these better-for-you bites that are made from veggies and baked in the oven. Let me be honest here that grown ups will compromise here but not kids..so continue reading this post for the next recipe that works for everyone!
- 2 cups cauliflower florets
- 2 tbsp Corn starch , can be adjusted to get the right mixture
- ½ cup onion , minced
- ¼ cup bell pepper , minced (optional)
- ½ cup cheddar cheese , shredded
- ¼ cup cheese , you can use your favorite, I use yellow Cheddar
- ¼ minced cilantro or parsley (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- cooking spray or oil
Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a nonstick cookie sheet with cooking spray or lightly grease with oil. Set aside.
Steam cauliflower in hot water for 3-5 minutes or until nice and soft, drain and chopped with a knife or blend in the food processor ( just a few seconds.)
In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients(except cooking oil spray and parsley) and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon about 1 tablespoon of mixture in your hands and roll into small oval shaped tots. Or if you can make long cylinder and cut into 1 inch pieces to get it done faster.
Place on the cookie sheet ½ inch apart and bake for about 20 minutes, turning halfway through cooking until golden.
Now, obviously I don’t have time to prepare different recipe for different tastebuds so I had to come up with the recipe that everyone enjoy in my family. I started experimenting and I adopted this idea from Indian cutlet recipe. I usually have left over rice in my refrigerator and sometimes quinoa as well. You don’t have to have quinoa on hands to prepare the following recipe. I thought of combining these two ingredients and believe me or not, it got hit in my family. so here is the recipe. If you wish to bake instead of fry, add your favorite cheese in it and bake.
- 2 cups cooked rice
- 1 small potato peeled and cut in small pieces
- 1 cup cooked quinoa or you can even try with mixed vegetables cut into very small pieces (green beans, bell pepper and carrot)
- 2 tsp Minced Garlic
- 1/2 tsp red chili powder , adjust to taste
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp corn starch , can be added as needed to adjust the mixture consistancy
- Oil to fry
If using vegetables, pat dry all the vegetables.
Put all the ingredients in food processor(except oil) and mix for about half a minutes. Mixture should be coarse not like paste and you should be able to see all the vegetables.
Remove from the food processer, rice mixture will be textured of chunky soft dough. Form mixture into tots..
Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium high heat. Drop the cutlets slowly into it, taking care not to overlap them.
Fry the cutlets until they are golden brown, turning occasionally. This should take about 5 to 6 minutes. Take them out over a paper towel.
If desired, you can bake at 350F for about 20 minutes or till golden crispy and done.
For best taste serve them hot. Tots taste great with Tomato Sauce, as we all know but try with Indian Chutneys...
Celebrate Tater Tots day with any of the recipe and enjoy!