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Patatas Bravas

Origin: Castilla La Mancha, Madrid

Patatas Bravas

Patatas bravas is one of the most common Spanish tapas that you will find if you decide to visit Spain. They are sold in nearly every bar and are a great dish to share between friends and family, or even classmates from a Spanish language school. With regards to their history, we don't know exactly how long ago patatas bravas were created, however we do know it was after 1542, as Europe had no knowledge of this tuber until the Spanish conquered the Inca empire.

Though at first it was used as a ornamental plant, the famine that devastated Europe along with the Thirty Years' War made people creative out of need and potatoes began to be consumed.

Potatoes weren't exactly popular though, and when not at war people preferred to grow them for decorative reasons or to feed their animals rather than eat them themselves. Centuries later it has become one of the basic food products in Spain and many countries of Europe.

One of the reasons for the boom in the popularity of the potato is its low price and its versatility, it can be cooked in an infinite number of ways, served hot or cold and it's also very nutritious.

Patatas bravas are originally from Madrid, where it was created and patented. Potatoes are cut in irregular chunks of approximately 2 cm, fried and dressed in a spicy tomato sauce that is poured over the them and served very hot.

Patatas bravas' sauce is made with a base of tomato sauce, vinegar and chili, such as cayenne peppers, however other ingredients are used which are well guarded secrets by each cook who adds a special something to the recipe.

In Catalonia and Valencia the sauce is made of olive oil, chili, paprika and vinegar. The important thing is that it's spicy, in fact it's name "bravas" makes allusion to this. In the Spanish language, brava means fierce, ferocious, angry.

Patatas bravas are typically served in bars in many regions of Spain as tapas or "ración". It's considered one of the cheapest tapas due to its inexpensive ingredients. Should you ever visit Madrid, you'll absolutly have to taste patatas bravas !

Patatas Bravas | Potatoes and Spicy Tomato Sauce

Ingredients (four portions:

  • 4 large potatoes
  • 1/2 onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 cayenne peppers
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • 1 cup of crushed natural tomatoes
  • 1 tbs of flour
  • vinegar
  • oil
  • salt
  • sugar
  • water


Patatas Bravas
  • Put the potatoes in a pot with water and bring to boil. Let them cook at high heat
  • Dice the onion in fine chunks and chop the garlic and cayenne peppers
  • Heat two spoonfuls of oil, preferably olive oil and stir-fry the onion until its transparent
  • When the onion is ready add the garlic and the cayenne peppers. When the garlic is browned, remove from fire and add the paprika. Stir well so it mixes properly and put at low fire
  • Add the cup of tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes stir so it doesn't stick. Add the sugar and salt.
  • Dissolve the flour in half a cup of water and add to the tomato sauce, mix well and cover with water. It must be on the fire for 15 minutes
  • Add the vinegar. Put the sauce in the mixer and blend until there are no lumps
  • Once the potatoes are soft let them cool until they reach room temperature. Peel and cut in irregular cubes, about 3 cm thick
  • In a frying pan heat abundant olive oil and fry the potatoes in several batches
  • Once they are brown put the potatoes in a absorbent paper so any excess oil is drained
  • Put the potatoes in a large bowl and pour the desired amount of sauce.

Patatas bravas are simple and cheap to make, and best of all, you can add any spice or herb to your taste, Spanish recipes are usually modified by each cook. They are excellent party food so if you are thinking of holding a Spanish themed party then why not make these for your guests. If you want to learn more about Spanish food, and how to make it, we recommend that you take a cooking course in Madrid!