In a reply to a comment to another question I had (asking for a plum pudding recipe), I made this statement:
"The culinary art does allow for adaptation and interchangeability within recipes for most dishes. I'm sure this holds true for plum pudding".
With that in mind, and certain it applies to potato pancakes as well, I would like a general consensus on the main ingredient in potato pancakes.
In my home and in the homes of all I knew, potato cakes were made from leftover stewed potatoes. They were mashed, but not so fine as to remove all lumps. Those lumps made the cakes even better.
Now after reading all the entries in the article, I find a lot of people use raw, grated potatoes. To my way of thinking, these cakes should not be called potato pancakes. I see them as little more than glorified hash browns. But then, I did say "The culinary art does allow for adaptation and interchangeability".
My question: In your opinion, do these 'hash brown' cakes qualify as the traditional 'potato pancake'? Elaborate if you like.
Does it really matter? No
Will my question make good 'rag'? I think so.
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I just bought and froze 10 loaves of Walmart French bread. Some of those loaves will be for making panko. I didn't think my potato cakes could get any better. I might just prove myself wrong when I make them with panko. Yes!
We always did it with grated raw potatoes
And after reading your posts about the dishes you prepare, I bet they were delicious, too.
Growing up, mum made them with leftover mash and they were fried so they were crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside, yet somehow were still super thin. Some kinda magic, I dunno ;)
this explains the discrepancies better than i could.personally i think a potato pancake is made from leftover mashed potatoes,a latke from raw
Thank you for your comment. I had never heard the word 'latke' before. It perfectly fits fried cakes with grated potatoes as the main ingredient. Indeed, 'potato pancakes' may date back much farther than German history.
On a personal note; I really enjoy the taste of fried potatoes. I want my potato cakes to taste like potatoes. Not carrots, eggs, corn, sugar, etc. Just salt, pepper and possibly onion as I consider these as enhancers of the potato flavor, itself.
I'm not opposed to multiple flavors added to potatoes, though. When making potato salad I add mustard, mayonnaise, onion, bell pepper, celery, dill pickle relish, chopped boiled eggs, salt and pepper, and on occasion firm, diced tomatoes. And of course, my potato salad is made yesterday or at least several hours ahead. It is important that all these flavors have a chance to meld.
If we have leftover mashed potatoes we use those. If not, then we use raw grated ones.
I guess my answer will tell my age but I grew up on a farm (4 older brothers) so we rarely had left overs of any kind and we always had plenty of home grown potatoes so we used raw potatoes but ours were called "potato cakes". As for hash browns, that is a later invention (I think) as our other potato dish was cut up potatoes and these were our "home fries".
When cooking for my own family (4 boys & 2 girls) I'm not sure we took time to name anything - nothing lasted long enough to name it.
Potato pancakes - usually delicious either way so I guess it will be a toss-up.
My Grandmother taught me the German tradition for real potato pancakes. Grate 6 potatoes using the smaller grate. Grate 1 onion and 1 large raw carrots also into the mix. Season with salt and pepper Add 3 eggs. Mix flour into it to a desirable texture for frying. Pour a small bit of cooking oil or crisco into large frying pan and fry at a medium high heat until brown. Do not flip until it looks browned well. Repeat on the other side.
Very very delicious served with your choice of creamed corn, applesauce, or powdered sugar on top. Yummy!
As cybergrannie said, we too called them 'potato cakes'.
While researching this, I was flooded with German recipes. It might well be that the Germans invented the dish. If so, their method should prevail. Every 'German' recipe I read called for grated potatoes.
I have tried both ways. I prefer lumpy mashed potatoes with lots of finely grated onions. The only way I would use grated potatoes now was if I dumped the potatoes into a clean cloth and wrang as much water from them as I could before frying.
I make these also using the regular size grater. Just depends on how you want them.
I think I have found something we all can agree on. If the potato pancakes/potato cakes are made with mashed potatoes, the texture comes a lot closer to that of a cake than does those made with grated potatoes.
I think I will do an article on how I make potato cakes. I have a couple secrets I would like to share.
These are always a family favorite and now great because I can always just make 2 or 3 cakes with whatever potatoes I have left over (even baked potato and crushed corn or?) so let us have your tips so I can share them with my family.
Added or additional ingredients change it from a potato cake to a "whatever cake" but surprises sometime turn out good and sadly, may never be duplicated.
Sherri, my daddy was German and he taught me several German traditional dishes but never potato pancakes so thanks for this "recipe" as I will add it to my file.
Don't rush me, First, I'm going to so some experimenting. I want to perfect a recipe using panko. I fried some French fries in clarified butter. They were so good, I will try the cakes in clarified butter.
When using pre cooked mashed potatoes, the cakes wont have to be cooked so much, So, I might be able to use regular butter. I'm interested in finding out if regular butter will work as I know most people wont go to the trouble of making clarified butter. I'll submit a recipe when it's ready. I can tell you this now, the recipe will call for no more than 1 egg. I don't want the cakes to taste eggy. I never used egg, anyway. Nuff said.
okay - waiting. Your clarified butter is very good but might be more trouble than the average cook will try. Many people do not know there can many times be a better way and is well worth a little trouble.
I discovered that Bob Evans mashed potatoes are (almost!) as good as my home made. When I have some left over, I chill them in the fridge, mix in a little flour, salt and pepper, shape them into pancake size rounds, roll in flour and fry in hot oil.
Sometimes, I add in grated cheese, fried bacon pieces, or chopped onion. It's a lot easier than making my own mashed potatoes first. I have to agree that using raw, grated potatoes are just hash browns.
I definitely am familiar with latkes from hanging out at kosher coop in college, and also am familiar with hash browns from living in the south, and am also familiar with leftover mash potato pancakes. Not familiar with the german 'potato cakes' though prob not too different from 'latkes' considering a lot of German & Ashkenazi Jewish culture intertwines
I do happen to think that the usage of words matters, so that if a potato pancake is specifically used with used mash, that that IS a different thing from the other
on the other hand, different regions/places have different names for things IE soda v/ pop - and really who's to say who'se right?
Yes, they are potato pancakes as well. I believe the term simply means they are made from potato and not a wheat product. regular hash browns typically do not have the other ingredients added to them as the potato pancakes do.
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