Story behind the recipe
If you search the Web for “potato pancakes”, you will find that most nations have their versions of it – such as Hash Browns in America or Latkes in Israel. Deeply rooted in Belarus’ nation-wide appreciation for potatoes, it is a Slavic version of crispy, savory pancakes best enjoyed with a dollop of sour cream on top. Belarus is known as the potato capital of the (former) USSR, so loving and knowing how to cook potato dishes perfectly is a big part of their heritage.
To go straight to the recipe for Draniki: Belarusian Potato Pancakes, click here.
What’s in the name?
The word “draniki” in both Russian and Belarusian means “torn up” or “shredded”. Simply put – potato shreds.
I love potatoes. Growing up, my mom used to worry that she would have to force feed me other vegetables and actual protein sources. Draniki were always one of my most favorite foods and though they are simple, they take a little bit of time to prepare. It was and is the ultimate comfort food for me and my mom’s way of saying “I love you”. Very Russian 🙂
Potatoes were a go-to side dish or even a meal back home, in many different forms, especially Roasted Potatoes with Mushrooms. However, I don’t cook them often these days. As someone once told me “I didn’t meet a potato I didn’t like or a potato that didn’t like my hips!” There’s definitely truth to that, so I cook potatoes very rarely these days – as a treat.
Crispy, salty, and absolutely delicious with sour cream smeared on top. It is my favorite (almost) egg-less breakfast. They also only take three ingredients, although you can also add some minced garlic to them, but make sure to eat them before you brush your teeth 😉
Draniki: Belarusian Potato Pancakes
- 1 Tb olive oil and butter, each
- 4 medium size Russet potatoes
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp salt
- greens (dill/green onions/cilantro)
- sour cream
- Peel the potatoes and wipe with a wet paper towel.
- Grate the potatoes using small or medium size blade. You have to do it quickly (but carefully, watch out for your fingers) to avoid darkening of the potatoes. It will still discolor some, but that’s unavoidable.
- Squeeze as much liquid out of potatoes as you can. Don’t worry about making it too dry – egg will bind it all together.
- Add salt and egg. Mix well with a spatula.
- Pre-heat the butter and olive oil over medium-medium high heat (I use 6 on my 2-10 knob marks) in a pan big enough to fit all the pancakes arranged somewhat loosely.
- Next, portion them out onto the pan, using a spoon or cookie scoop (once it feels hot enough) and push the edges in to round it out. Flatten the top with the spatula as well. They should be about 1/4-1/3 inch thick.
- Let cook about 6 minutes per side. Depending on your stove and the pan you use , cooking time may vary. Gently lift one on the side to check. It should look crisped, golden brown.
- When done, carefully transfer them onto the plate and serve immediately, topped with sour cream and greens. Enjoy!