Potatoes are nourishing, filling and tasty.

THE humble potato, a staple food originally from the Americas and now popular worldwide, is available in so many forms: boiled, mashed, French-fried and so on.

In Malaysia, perhaps rather less well-known is the baked potato a.k.a. jacket potato. You may see it on the menu in the odd restaurant or two. This is a pity, as baking is a healthy way to eat potato. It can either be a side dish or a complete meal in itself.

So what does one need? The larger variety of potato must be used for a start; the bigger the better, for example, Russet potatoes.

The small, thin-skinned and “new” potatoes are not suitable.

Baking requires “old” thick-skinned potatoes. Having purchased the right type of potato, the only other essential is an oven to cook it in. The procedure really could not be more simple.

Wash and, if necessary, gently scrub your potatoes to remove all the earth from them, leaving the skin intact.

Next, prick the potatoes deeply a few times with a toothpick or fork. Place them in a preheated oven at around 180-200°C for about 45 minutes.

You can test them to check whether they are cooked by prodding them with a fork. The skin should remain firm but the inside should be soft.

Two important points to note here are that the potatoes are cooked without any oil or fat. By cooking and eating them with the skin on, you are getting far more vitamins, minerals and roughage than you would with peeled potatoes.