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How To Make Excellent German Style Potato Pancakes
This easy German dinner or side dish is bound to delight!
The potato is dear to every German cook and is a pantry must in German cooking. From fried potatoes to potato salad, French fries to baked potatoes, one finds potatoes almost daily on German plates. And on rare occasions, the potato is the main course and plays second fiddle to no one! Shredded potatoes and onion meet hot oil to create a wonderful German dish known in English as potato pancakes.
A popular item throughout Germany and somewhat akin to American hash browns, the potato pancake takes on its own uniqueness in different areas of Germany. In Bavaria they are known as Reiberdatschi while in northern Germany they are known as Kartoffelpuffer or Reibekuchen. There are few differences between the actual idea of potato pancakes, but the personal preference of each chef makes for each cake to have its own uniqueness. The national dish of Switzerland is called Rösti and they are different by never containing eggs nor flour and are generally one large pancake covering the entire pan, much like a large pie.
A variety of additional ingredients might be included, such as bacon, onions, leeks, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, pumpkin, or apples. Cheeses often cover the top of baked Rösti and they often include seasonal ingredients.
Start by shredding peeled potatoes into a large bowl. We generally use russet potatoes, but any type that can withstand high frying temperatures can be used. We also use a food processor to shred our ingredients but a handheld grater will work just as well. Take the onion and shred it in the same manner. After all the potatoes and onion have been shredded, carefully drain any water out of the bowl and then wrap the potatoes in a towel and squeeze as much water out as possible. Twist the towel tight to extract even more liquid. Continue until no more liquid comes out and put the mixture back into the bowl. Two bowls may help you.
Use a heavy skillet or cast iron pan, as it will keep the oil at the right temperature during frying. Pour in about ½ inch of oil and set at medium high heat.
Now add two beaten eggs and a teaspoon of salt. Mix all the ingredients together. Take a large spoon and grab a spoonful of the mixture. Some people compress them together to make a hash brown, but resist this temptation and gently form them on the spoon. Be careful when putting the potatoes in the oil, as splashing may occur. The egg will bind them together somewhat, but small pieces of shredded potato will run away from the main pancake.
Fry your pancakes until golden brown on one side and gently flip with a thin spatula. Because they are somewhat loose and not compacted like hash browns, you should be able to see when they are done.
Serve immediately with applesauce or a mushroom gravy, like that found on a Jägerschnitzel. Some people prefer ketchup, or a nice spicy salsa. With Kartoffelpuffer, anything goes, but we prefer the traditional apple sauce. Enjoy!
- 2 pounds Russet potatoes
- 1 medium Onion, white or yellow
- 2 large Eggs
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 cup Oil, enough to fry, generally 1/4 or 1/2 inch from bottom of pan
- Peel potatoes and onions. Shred and mix together. Strain and set aside.
- Heat oil to medium high heat.
- Mix in whisked eggs and salt.
- Grab a large spoonful of mixture and gently place into the hot oil, frying until golden brown.
- Serve immediately with applesauce.