It’s hard to imagine a more affordable product than mashed potatoes. Or a dish that’s easier to prepare than mashed potatoes. But don’t rush: As it turns out, mashed and grinded potatoes can be fried, baked or even boiled again. Tastes fantastic!
So different potato fritters
Draniki, zrazy, zeppelins, kolduny, kartoplyaniki, latkes, rösti, gnocchi, potato duchess, potato puffer, bram boraki, hash browns, croquettes, lulas, dumplings, gnocchi, zemajchai, dracena…
We are going to stop here. If you are a keen observer you can see that all dishes we have in common. All of them are made either from mashed potatoes or grated potatoes.
While the dishes belong to different cuisines, it is often difficult to find not just ten differences but even one difference. To help you sort through the mess of potato confusion, with each chef mouthing off to prove that his or her recipe is the authentic one, we have taken the liberty of introducing some sort of system.
Take, for instance, potato pancakes. They are made everywhere. And if a country decides to prove that the dish belongs to its national cuisine, a culinary war will break out. But so far nothing threatens potato friendship. Arabs and Jews, western and eastern Europeans, Asians, Americans and Irish are united in their love for potato pancakes.
The base is grated potatoes, salt and pepper. Often grated onions and eggs are added; some people add flour and some add starch to make it thicker. Although the base is the same, every nation adds its own special twist to the dish.
Potato pancakes with ham
For example, draniki are sometimes served natural, or sometimes they are pre-cooked in pots with meat, bacon and fried onions, sometimes with prunes and mushrooms. The draniki are placed at the bottom of the pot, then the “stuffing” is added, a couple more potato pancakes are placed on top and the sour cream is poured over them. And then this beauty can simmer in the oven for up to 24 hours.
The Czechs add marjoram, lots of garlic and a little milk to their batter. By the way, the dreaded word “bramborak” means “potato”. Bramboraky are often cooked with meat, chicken, chicken liver and vegetables.
Germans make potato fritters under the resounding name potato puffer and serve them either with a salad or with applesauce or jam. The Irish add buttermilk to the batter and so their boksti look more like thick pancakes than pancakes.
Koreans make gamjajeon only with potatoes and fry it in vegetable oil. Onions, mushrooms and carrots are often added. The finished dish is sprinkled with chili peppers and sesame seeds and served with a mixture of soy sauce and vinegar.
The Swedes make a flatbread made of potatoes, bread and flour called lefse. It is served with jam, peanut butter, eggs and bacon.
Swiss rösti differs in that they do not contain any flour or egg. Onions, bacon, cheese and apples can be added.
When the Americans make hash browns, they seldom add anything to the potatoes except salt and pepper. They grate the potatoes coarsely and squeeze them well before frying. This makes the fritters more crispy. Both rösti and often hashbrowns are fried to the size of the whole pan, rather than as individual fritters.
But potato dracena is a bit of a different story. Grate peeled raw potatoes, add flour, fried bacon and onion, pepper, salt, soda, and mix everything. The ready mass is put into a deep pan, smoothed, sprinkled with oil and baked in the oven. Another Belarusian cooks potato babka. Grated raw potatoes are interspersed with layers of meat, mushrooms or vegetables, baked in a clay pot and served with cracklings and sour cream.
Mashed potatoes alone
Mashed potatoes are several popular favourites. Let’s discuss how to prepare them properly. To prevent the mashed potatoes from turning out like glue, we recommend baking the potatoes instead of boiling them. Grind the potatoes while they are still warm. You can also grate them on a coarse shredder. When kneading the potatoes with the other ingredients, work very quickly. Stir for a long time and you risk getting cement instead of potato dough.
Once you’ve mashed them properly, you’ll be able to enjoy potato casseroles, potato patties and… The list is endless.
The zrazy can be stuffed with meat or mushroom. They’re also delicious with sour cream. Trite but very tasty.
Potato patties differ from ‘zrazy’ perhaps only in shape. They are round. And inside there’s minced meat with onions and herbs.
If you’re looking for something a little different, you might like to try the Schupfnudeln – a German gnocchi. A potato dough is shaped into oblong sausages and boiled. They are served with sauerkraut.
The croquettes are different because they are breaded in breadcrumbs or flour and fried in plenty of oil. The filling can be anything you like: cheese, mushrooms, meat, fish.
Mashed potato duchesse is an original way of serving mashed potatoes and they are arranged in wavy pyramids using a pastry utensil.
The French have a casserole called “Parmantier”, named after the very chemist who introduced the potato into fashion.
The English make a shepherd’s pie. The principle is similar: minced meat and a potato blanket on top. But there’s a difference – in Parmantier, there’s a slight hint of nutmeg and a subtle garlicky smell because garlic is rubbed on the casserole dish. And in English pie, there are sliced carrots, fried onions and peas, sometimes celery.
It’s all simple and hearty.
Whatever the name of the pancakes you make, it’s important that they are tasty. The potatoes have to be starchy. Peel them or not, it’s up to you.
Potato peels will give the fritters a rich colour and make them more crispy. If you don’t peel them, rub the potatoes well with a vegetable brush. Keep the potatoes that have already been peeled in water so that they don’t turn black before you’ve dealt with the rest.
If you’re adding onions to the fritters, grate the potatoes alternately with the onions and stir all the time so that they don’t turn dark.
If you like your doughnuts crispy, squeeze the grated potatoes thoroughly with your hands and then pat them dry with paper towels. If you like your doughnuts slightly sticky, don’t squeeze.
Pour vegetable oil into a frying pan and heat the pan. Spoon the dough out, flatten slightly and fry in the hot oil until golden on both sides. Pat dry on a paper towel and serve at once.
If you can’t serve the fritters immediately, keep them in the oven at 95 degrees. To keep them crispy, do not stack or cover them.