Growing up in Whitby, the Ukrainian and Polish heritage was very strong throughout the area. My parents had many Ukrainian friends and I grew up being introduced to a lot of Ukrainian food. I have very fond memories of eating these pancakes at my friend Irene's house. Her grandmother used to make them for us and we devoured them. They can be eaten for breakfast, as an appetizer or a side dish. Whichever way you choose to eat them, a dollop of sour cream is an absolute must-have for the topping.
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- 4 large yellow flesh potatoes (about 2 lbs), peeled
- 1 small cooking onion
- 1 large egg
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- Sour Cream
- Peel raw potatoes and peel all skin away from cooking onion. Place a large fine mesh sieve inside a large mixing bowl so that the potatoes will drain while grating.
- Using a box grater, on the fine shred, grate potatoes and onion (alternately - potato, a little onion, potato, a little onion) into the sieve. This technique allows the onion juice to prevent the potatoes from browning. Once all the potatoes and onion have been grated, discard the juices that have accumulated into the bowl, but do not discard the potato starch (in other words, do not wash the bowl out - see Note below). Keep the potato starch and add the grated potatoes and onions to the bowl.
- Add all-purpose flour, egg, salt and baking soda; mix well to combine. Potato batter will be thick, but still liquid enough to spoon.
- In a large non-stick skillet, heat 2 to 3 tbsp grapeseed oil over medium heat. Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of potato mixture into the pan to make pancakes, keeping them about 1-inch apart. Fry on each side about 3 to 4 minutes or until golden. Transfer cooked pancakes to a platter and keep warm. Repeat with remaining pancake mixture. Serve deruny warm with a generous dollop of sour cream.
Makes about 16 pancakes
- Grapeseed oil is a perfect ideal for cooking these pancakes. You want a neutral flavour oil and grapeseed or sunflower are great choices. The potato pancakes absorb a fair bit of oil when cooking so heavier oils will tend to overpower the flavour and leave an oily taste.
- Traditionally the potatoes are always peeled for this dish. Many European dishes require you to peel the skins, so if you want to keep this dish as authentic as possible, I would suggest you peel the potatoes.
- The potato starch is the thicker stuff that's in the liquid when you grate the potatoes. When you drain the juice, the starch stays in the bowl. Be careful when you are draining to leave this thicker part of the liquid in the bowl.
- It's important to use a fine grate when grating these potatoes/onions. It's tempting to use the thicker grate, but this mixture has a soupier consistency, so the fine grate is what you want to use. It will only take about 15 minutes to grate the potatoes.