Baked Purple Potato Halves

By Dr Gabriella F Buttarazzi.

You can find out more about Gabriella’s work at

1 medium-sized dish, serving 2 to share.

Good For
As a side dish.

Living in China for several years exposed me to entirely new nutritious ingredients. The purple potato is a humble food, often available as a Chinese street food cooked in a make-shift tandoori oven or steamed. Purple potato flour may also be bought and used for making wheat-free and gluten-free desserts. Although not available everywhere, the purple potato can be found in Chinese supermarkets, farmers markets and in some specialised supermarkets in the UK.

The purple potato cooks quicker than the standard white potato, but slower that the sweet potato. They come in a variety of sizes, the smaller ones (similar in size to new potatoes) are sweeter and softer. Featuring in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) healing food recipes, as they are believed to reduce both high blood pressure and high-blood sugar, mostly because of their high concentrations of anti-oxidants (particularly anthocyanin), the purple potato (quite like the yam, taro, lotus root and sweet potato) is a healthier and more nutritious potato option, compared with the standard white potato commonly eaten in western countries. The purple potato is originally native to Peru and Bolivia (also known as Purple Viking or Purple Peruvian potato), it is not to be confused with the purple skinned sweet potato variety or the russet potato (with the dark red skin). These varieties are often white or grey in the centre and have a purple outer-layer. The variety now abundant in Chinese cuisine is sweeter, very purple and turns a blueish colour when steamed. The most common variety, though there are many, it is probably the Purple Majesty.

Growing up, my mother used to make potatoes as many did in her southern Italian village: sliced lengthwise, scored and seasoned with plenty of ground black pepper. This is a simple method for roasting that tends to cook the potatoes more evenly.


  • 500g medium-sized purple potatoes
  • 3-4 tbsp extra-virgin coconut oil
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, minced or finely chopped
  • To taste sea salt
  • To taste ground black pepper
  • To taste a few sprigs of fresh rosemary, tarragon or thyme – optional

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Step 2

Wash the purple potatoes and slice lengthwise along the centre.

Step 3

Lightly and neatly score each half of the potato width-wise in a cross-hatched manner (pictured).

Step 4

Oil and season the baking tray with sea salt and ground black pepper.

Step 5

Place the purple potatoes face upwards and season the tops with more sea salt, ground black pepper and if you wish, with minced or finely chopped garlic.

Step 6

Roast until crispy and golden for 20 minutes.

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