Patatas Bravas


Back in November, I went to Madrid for a conference. I had a few days before the conference to explore a bit, as I had only visited Barcelona in the summer of 2013 for a few days. It was nice to be back in Spain, this time exploring a different city, and one activity I did was take a cooking class. I will have some Spanish-themed posts from what I learned 🙂

The food in Madrid was excellent. All the various tapas, the mains, and most restaurants (including hotel restaurants) were top notch. And let’s not get started with the wine. I had a glass everywhere I went! Another activity I did was attend a flamenco show — truly an amazing experience and I recommend going to a show if you’re ever in Spain.


Back to the cooking class — I’m not sure why I never took classes in my previous travels, but I’ve resolved to do so in the future. It was the most fun I had (and also a good way to spend a rainy day), while learning a lot about Spanish culture and markets and cooking.


On my very first trip to Spain in 2013, my friends and I were hungry after spending more than 24 hours getting to Barcelona. We walked around and found a tapas bar (basically small dishes meant to be shared, like appetizers). One of the tapas we ordered was patatas bravas. It’s basically fried potatoes with a smokey paprika sauce (bravas sauce), and served with or without an aioli. In Madrid, it’s not served with an aioli. That first tapas place was the best version of patatas bravas we tasted.


I was glad it was one of the recipes in the cooking class I went to, so here it is!


  • 3-4 potatoes, cubed
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Bravas sauce

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp sweet/mild smoked paprika
  • 3/4 tsp hot smoked paprika (can substitute with mild)
  • 3 tsp flour
  • 1 pinch white pepper
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 150 mL of broth (meat or vegetarian)

Aioli (optional)

  • 1 egg
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dijon
  • 1 cup oil (grapeseed, avocado, or olive)


Create the aioli (if making) by placing the egg, garlic, mustard, and salt in a food processor. Let run until mixed, and slowly drizzle in the oil slowly, until it starts to emulsify and thicken into a mayo-like texture. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Drizzle a tray or dish with oil, and add the potatoes and salt. Rub all potatoes with the oil, and place evenly on tray. Place in oven, and let roast until golden brown and crispy. Alternatively, these can be fried in a pot on the stove.

In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Once heated, take off heat and add the paprika, whisking well. Return to heat and add the flour. Stir to create something similar to a roux, and cook for a minute.

While continuously whisking, slowly add the broth. Bring to a boil until the sauce thickens. Add the white per and vinegar. Season with salt, to taste.

Once the potatoes are done, serve immediately with the sauce and aioli. Enjoy!

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