Conversation over a delicious old-calendar Christmas Eve dinner at my godmother’s home last weekend turned to potato pancakes. While potato pancakes weren’t one of the twelve traditional Ukrainian meatless courses served, they were traditionally a Slavic staple of many a meal throughout the rest of the year. We all agreed, however, that we just don’t seem to make this tasty flat savory dish very often anymore, so it was time to try my hand at making them again.
While travelling through Slovakia a couple of years ago, I had many a potato pancake in many a village, but in absence of my babas’ (grandmothers’) recipes I thought I’d turn to my go-t0 spot for Slovak recipes for direction – Slovak Cooking. Described as a side dish, my family has always had them as the main part of the meal – with gobs of sour cream, one of the best things about my Slovak heritage! I made these pancakes wheat-free with spelt flour, but wheat flour will do.
3 large potatoes
1 small onion
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp spelt flour
3 tbsp vegetable oil
- Peel and shred the potatoes. (I used a manual shredder but both my mom and godmother say the job’s a lot easier using a blender or food processor.) Squeeze out as much of the resulting liquid as possible, through a strainer.
- Shred the onion and garlic and combine with the shredded potatoes in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
- Mix in the egg until well combined. Mix the flour into the mixture along with salt and pepper to taste.
- Working in batches, heat about a tablespoon of the oil in a no-stick frying pan. Spoon about a third of a cup of the potato mixture into the pan for each pancake. Fry each side for about 4 minutes until browned and crisp.
- Transfer cooked pancakes to a paper towel lined plate before serving with a good dollop of sour cream.