Australia's Puffed Take On Potato Scallops Is A Must-Try

You're in a tavern known for its fish-and-chips shop and see what appear to be classic fried fish bites alongside golden chips. You take a bite, expecting hot, flakey fish, but instead, you taste a sumptuous, creamy, fluffy potato interior. What is going on? You've just had a puffed potato scallop, an Aussie favorite. Depending on which Australian locality you're visiting or are from, you could also call this potato cake or potato fritter. But regardless of what you call them (and not to minimize why they have different names since it's an ongoing heated debate within Australia), these battered and deep-fried potato rounds are a must-try. 

Outside, puffed potato scallops are crispy and golden brown, resembling bites of deep-fried fish or scallops. Inside, you'll find creamy, starchy potato (usually Russet). The dish is akin to Japanese tempura in its mastery of texture, but it comes with a distinct Aussie character. First, you would slice and par-cook the potatoes until tender yet still firm. A layer of batter made from flour, baking soda, and a carbonated liquid (like soda, beer, or sparkling water) covers the potato slices, preparing them for deep frying. Once fried, they puff up adorably and are super crunchy and crispy. And one is never enough; these tend to vanish as quickly as they're served.

The best ways to enjoy puffed potato scallops

How do you serve them, you ask? Well, you can enjoy puffed potato scallops with a light dusting of salt or seasoning. As for what to dip them into, do as the Aussies do and pair the puffed potato scallops with ketchup or vinegar. Or make a copycat of Outback's Bloomin Onion Sauce to dip your potato scallops into. Of course, however, traditionalists might argue that the scallops are best enjoyed hot and unadorned, letting their simple ingredients of potatoes and batter shine. You could just eat them like chips. 

While other fried favorites like crispy potato bubble or potato soufflé offer their own takes on textural allure, there's something about the combination of firm-yet-fluffy Russet potatoes and their puffed, crispy batter that stands out. Perhaps the appeal is they're bite-sized and remind you of fancier dishes like fried cod bites or scallops when they're just humble potatoes. Whatever the reason is, we for sure love Australian puffed potato scallops.