Easy Potato Recipes From Belarus, White Russia
Belarus is White Russia in literal translation and Minsk is its capital city. Of all the former Soviet Socialist Republics, the CIA reports that Belarus is most closely associated with Russia today, in economic ties at least. Belarus is located just southwest of the larger country and its history includes participation in a four-nation commonwealth before its time as BSSR. Today's politics have caused some consternation regarding the nation's name, some citizens wishing to distance themselves from Russia.
The name farther back is White Rus (long u sound), referring to Slavs and their portion of Eastern Europe that congealed around the old Kiev Rus state. Ukraine was called White Russia in the 1960s as well, having been part of the commonwealth mentioned. Black Rus also has existed and of course, all of these names gave rise to alcoholic drinks called Black Russian and White Russian. Why they contain the Mexican liquor Kahlua is unknown to me.
Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, and Ukraine were once joined into a single political entity known as the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth before Ukraine and Belarus became part of the USSR. These four nations shared food dishes, cultures, and additional aspects of life intramurally with other nations. Russian and Belarussian are the official languages of Belarus today, with Russian the more widely spoken.
Flag of Belarus
The country has survived periods of poverty, but the landscape is remarkable in its beauty and variety. As seen in the included photographs of local waterways, the colors of lake and sky are such as to appear unreal in their beauty.
The vertical band to the left of the National Flag represents the traditional embroidery of National Ornamentation, it's cultural arts portrayed in fabrics and clothing especially:
- The horizontal red band recalls the struggles and conflicts against past oppression (likely blood shed), while
- The final green band represents hope for the future and the myriad national forests among the countryside.
A video presentation below illustrates the scenic qualities of the landscapes and the flavor of the people of Belarus, set against a background of native music.
Minsk Is the Capital Of Belarus
Note the wealth of forests in the nation.
Belrus and song "There, Over the Hill" by Stary Olsa.
Music of Belarus
In 2015, this musical group celebrated its 16thanniversary together. Its name Old Olsa comes from a brook in the West Mahiloũ Region of Belarus. The band performs traditional folk ballads, military inspired songs, Belarusan Renaissance pieces, canticles of the 16th - 17th centuries, and other period pieces.
Please rate this beautiful, golden brown,delicious recipe.
My mother made potato cakes with left over homemade mashed potatoes and these potato zrazy and deruny remind me a little of those.
In Belarus and surrounding areas of Central Eastern Europe, the original zrazy is a meat dish made from rolls of sliced beef, stuffed with any of several items. These are rolled or twisted up and tied with thin string, fried in oil, and placed into a casserole to be simmered in broth, celery, and spices. These steps give the dish a variety of layered flavors. This meat zrazy is similar to the German roulade and Germany lies just to the southwest of the four former commonwealth nations.
“Ukrainian” Easter Eggs are also found in all of these nations in their own recognizable designs, as well as others surrounding the former commonwealth, like Romania and Hungary.
Some ideas migrate with people and others emerge simultaneously in different areas; it is hard to judge which in the case of decrated eggs, although some disciplines of science opt for migration as the answer.
Serves 6 to 8
- 2 Pounds of white potatoes
- ¾ Pound ground beef or ground chuck (If you like, you can also use rump roast or top steak and grind it after boiling.)
- 1 Medium-sized yellow onion, peeled and chopped.
- Olive or vegetable oil for sautéing
- 4 oz. hot pork fat, bacon grease, butter, or substitute
- Salt, to taste
Potatoes for Cakes
- Grate a full pound of potatoes fine, into a bowl.
- Boil remaining potatoes unpeeled for 25 minutes, drain and cool.
- Peel the second batch of potatoes, grate, and add them to the first batch in the bowl.
- Mix all the potatoes together, taste, and salt as needed. Set aside.
- Boil the meat until no pink remains, drain, and cool somewhat.
- Place chopped onion into a skillet with a little olive oil and sauté. Drain and place in a large bowl.
- Add meat into the fried onions. Mix well with clean hands.
- Make elongated potato cakes and wrap around portions of meat filling by patting potatoes into a thick patty of dough, placing meat in the center and folding over potatoes, smoothing to seal. If potatoes are too dry, add a little milk. Take care not to stuff too much filling into each potato cake.
- Fry the stuffed potatoes in fat until golden brown, drain, and serve hot, with garlic sauce. Alternatively, bake in a 350 º F oven until golden brown.
- In some homes, these zrazy are served with hot pork fast poured over them.
Krivo Lake, Belarus
Belarussian Garlic Sauce
This is a Garlic Mayonnaise without eggs
- 4 Cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 Cup or more of Vegetable Oil
- 2 Tbsp Boiling water
- In a blender, place garlic and add salt and boiling water to release flavors.
- Begin to blend on a low setting; pouring oil slowly into the garlic until a mayonnaise consistence occurs.
- This sauce is often used in conjunction with a thick sour cream called smetana.
Belorussian National Potato Meal - Draniki and Tea
Deruny or Draniki
This is another sort of potato cake, one that my Ukrainian uncles-in-law and Russian teachers enjoyed when I was a child.
The first time I attempted to make these, they fell apart, because I forgot the flour. My mother learned to make these in southern Ohio during the Great Depression, but without the egg. Basic dishes in distant countries are often similar.
- 3 Large potatoes
- 1 Large egg, slightly beaten
- 1 Tbsp minced onion
- 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt and a dash of pepper
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- Peel and grate the potatoes and pour off excess potato water.
- In a large bowl, place all ingredients and mix well with your clean hands. (It’s easier for me to mix the dry ingredients to distribute the seasoning and then add the dry to the moist ingredients and mix.)
- Heat a skillet over moderate heat and add the vegetable oil. When hot, drop the potato batter by spoonfuls into the skillet.
- Fry over moderate heat about 3-4 minutes per side, or until deep golden brown.
- Serve hot with applesauce, yogurt, cottage cheese, or sour cream.
More by this Author
I learned to make all of these recipes from my Russian-Ukrainian teacher in middle school and high school. They have remained favorites to this day.
Russian traditions for baking and coloring eggs are different from other Slavic traditions and fun to learn. Natural ingredients can make the best egg dyes!
After much hard work in writing countless resumes, cover letters, and job applications, employment candidates hope to interview well, impress the hiring officer, and secure the job. We can help with the information in...