Countries have ingeniously found unique ways to utilise the humble tatty. The simple spud’s adaptability has been showcased worldwide and is cherished in most culinary traditions. Let’s explore how six countries have made the potato their own.

India – Aloo Tikki

Potatoes stake centre stage in a popular street food called Aloo Tikki. These golden and crispy potato patties are mixed with aromatic spices, such as cumin, coriander, garam masala and chilli, then shallow-fried until they develop a delightful crunch. To make Aloo Tikki at home, a top tip to get the irresistibly crispy interior is to coat the patties with a light layer of cornflour before deep frying. 

Street food vendors across India skillfully prepare the dish across bustling markets and crowned corners, serving it piping hot with onions, chutneys and fresh herbs.

Its origins trace back to the culinary landscape of North India, in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. While its history is uncertain, Aloo Tikki has long been associated with traditional festivals, street food culture, and familial gatherings. 

It is often savoured during Navratri, a nine-night Hindu festival, and Diwali, the festival of lights – celebrating joy togetherness, and culinary indulgence. 

Sweden – Raggmunk 

Swedish cuisine presents us with Raggmunk, a traditional potato pancake dish that combines simplicity, comfort, and irresistible flavours. Grated potatoes are mixed with flour, milk, eggs, and onions, forming a batter that is fried until golden brown. Raggmunk is often served with lingonberry jam and crispy bacon, providing a delightful combination of sweet and salty flavours. 

There are some regional variations that add twists to the dish. For example, in northern Sweden, a variation called Kroppkakor incorporates mashed potatoes into the pancake batter. 

Raggmunk is closely associated with the region of Skane, in southern Sweden. Historically Raggmunck was a way to utilise readily available ingredients, particularly potatoes, which have long been a staple in Scandinavian cuisine.

Today, Raggmunk still holds a special place in Swedish celebrations and festivals, particularly during the harvest season and Midsummer festivities. The dish continues to be cherished as a comfort food that evokes nostalgia and a sense of home. 

With the rise of fusion techniques, chefs have begun experimenting with Raggmunk, incorporating creative fillings and toppings. Some modern interpretations feature smoked salmon, dill-infused sour cream, or cheese fillings.

Ireland – Colcannon 

When it comes to heartwarming comfort food, few dishes can match the Irish delight known as Colcannon. The traditional dish weaves together the simplicity of mashed potatoes with the earthy goodness of cabbage, spring onion, and sometimes bacon. 


Colcannon holds a special place in Irish Halloween traditions. Traditionally during Halloween, a ring, coin, and a thimble would be hidden within the Colcannon. It was believed that whoever found the ring would be married soon, the coin symbolised prosperity and the thimble foretold single life. 

The dish’s popularity transcends Irish boards, with similar potato and cabbage dishes being found in Scottish cuisine (known as “rumblethumps”) and English cuisine “bubble and squeak”).

Japan – Korokke 

These delectable, deep-fried potato croquettes have captured the hearts and taste buds of people across Japan and the globe. 

Mashed potatoes are combined with minced meat, seafood (like shrimp or crab), or vegetables and seasoned with soy sauce, salt, pepper and spices. It is then shaped into patties, coated in breadcrumbs, and deep-fried until golden and crispy. Korokke is often enjoyed as a snack, a bento box item or a side dish in izakayas (Japanese pubs). 

Korokke is an example of the influence of Western cuisine on Japan during the late 19th century. Introduced by French and Dutch traders, the concept of croquettes gradually merged with Japanese culinary traditions, resulting in the creation of Korokke as a distinctly Japanese rendition. 

The dish offers endless possibilities for customisation. While the classic version features potato and meat filling, variations such as cheese-filled or curry-flavoured Korokke have gained popularity. Some have even experimented with additional fillings like kimchi, or spicy tuna. 

South Africa – Bobotie 

Introducing Bobotie, the savoury potato-based casserole of South Africa. This dish perfectly encapsulates the country’s cultural fusion and vibrant flavours. The spiced meat dish combines sweet, savoury, and aromatic elements and has become an iconic symbol of South African gastronomy. 

Bobotie features minced meat, usually beef or lamb, topped with a layer of creamy mashed potatoes and baked until golden. At the core, the dish’s distinct taste is a fragrant spice blend, which typically includes a mixture of ground cinnamon, turmeric, coriander, cloves and cumin. One of the distinguishing features of Bobotie is the addition of dried fruit, such as raisins or apricots – adding a touch of sweetness. 

A key characteristic of Bobotie is its layered composition. The spiced meat mixture is combined with soaked bread, milk and beaten eggs, creating a custard-like consistency. The contrast between the flavourful meat and the baked custard is what sets this dish apart. 

It is often served with a variety of accompaniments that complement the dish’s flavours. Yellow rice, flavoured with turmeric, raisins, and cinnamon, is a popular pairing. Sambals (which are condiments made from dried fruits, vegetables and chillis) are also used to add a fresh burst of flavour. 

Boboties’ origins can be traced back to Indonesian, Malay, and Cape Malay cuisine, which were brought to South Africa by the Malay slaves and labourers during the colonial era. Nowadays the dish holds a special place in South African culture, symbolising the country’s cultural heritage. It is often enjoyed as a centrepiece during special occasions, family gatherings, and festive celebrations. 

Spain – Torilla Espanola 

The beloved Totilla Espanola stands as a testament to the versatility of potatoes. Also known as a ‘Spanish omelette’, it showcases the humbleness of the country’s cuisine. 

The basic ingredients for Tortilla Espanola are simple yet crucial in creating its distinctive taste and texture. Potatoes are thinly sliced and fried until soft, and eggs are then beaten and combined with the potatoes to form the foundation of the dish. 

To create the perfect tortilla, slowly cook the potato in olive oil and ensure the pan is piping hot when you add the eggs, only cook until the bottom is set and then leave to cool. Some variations include the addition of onions, bell pepper, cheese, chorizo, or even spinach.

The dish is believed to have originated in the early 19th century in the region of Extremadura, in southwestern Spain. Originally a peasant dish, it quickly gained popularity and spread throughout the country. Today it is considered a national treasure and a staple in Spanish cuisine.