Potato Pancakes

Potato PancakesI love potato pancakes, and I consider myself something of an expert on them. Most people are not aware that there are two kinds of potato pancakes. First, there are the traditional—What will we do with these left-over mashed potatoes?—and then there are those we make from scratch as an exquisite touch to any meal. I will present you with recipes of both.

Left-Over Potato Pancakes

You can’t just plop some mashed potatoes into a frying pan and expect to get something like a pancake. A binding agent is necessary. In the case of potato pancakes, this is egg and flour. So for each cup of mashed potatoes, add two small eggs and and one and a half tablespoons of flour. To this, add about a quarter cup of finely grated onions, a half teaspoon of salt, and a quarter teaspoon of pepper. Mix it all together. Then, in a skillet of oil (about one-quarter inch in depth), fry small patties of about three-eighths inch thick and two to three inches around. Use a high temperature oil like corn or peanut. Cook until the bottom of the patty is browned, flip it over (Don’t splash the oil and burn yourself!), and cook until the other side is browned. Soak up extra oil with paper towels and then serve.

Some people don’t like pepper in their potato pancakes, so feel free to skip that. Also, it isn’t necessary to add onions to this recipe, but I wouldn’t think of having potato pancakes without them.

Specially Prepared Potato Pancakes

Grate about two cups of potatoes. There is no need to peel them. Before putting the grated potatoes in your mixing bowl, squeeze as much of the water out of them as you can. This is very important! Chop up a half cup of onion. Squeeze what little water you can out of these and add them to the potatoes. Add three medium eggs, two tablespoons of flour, a teaspoon of salt, and a half teaspoon of pepper. Mix it up and fry as stated above. If the mixture is too soupy (or becomes so), just add more flour. Contrary to many sources, you aren’t going to ruin your potato pancakes with too much flour (within reason).

Potato pancakes are no big mystery. Making them is more a knack than anything else. As long as you minimize your mixture’s liquid content, you should be fine. There are few things in the universe better.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

4 thoughts on “Potato Pancakes

  1. I sometimes flirt with the idea of opening a restaurant that serves only "comfort" food. The first thing on the menu would be potato pancakes. And unlike other places, I would not make potato pancakes too expensive. At most places they are ridiculously priced. At Whole Foods they are something like $7 per pound, and as anyone who has eaten them knows: potato pancakes are dense. What are they? Potatoes and onion. Why is that expensive?

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