Known as deruni or dranniki (both words derive from the verb “to tear into shreds”), potato pancakes are a national obsession in Byelorussia and the neighboring Ukraine. The women in these parts seem to make them day and night (not the greatest task in my view, especially if there’s no food processor around), just to observe the time-honored custom that no meal is complete without a pile of hot fresh potato pancakes. Serve with sour cream, bacon cracklings, or sautéed onions.
- 2 pounds new potatoes, peeled
- 1 medium-size onion, grated
- 1 small carrot, peeled and grated
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Light vegetable oil for frying
1. Grate the potatoes coarsely by hand or in a food processor using a coarse grating blade. Squeeze the mixture in a clean linen or cotton (not terry cloth) kitchen towel to remove any excess moisture. Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes and squeeze again. Rinse the potatoes in several changes of cold water. Drain and squeeze again to remove as much moisture as possible.
2. In a bowl, combine the potatoes with the onion and carrot and stir well with a fork. Sprinkle on the flour and mix in. Add the milk, egg, baking powder, and salt and pepper, and mix thoroughly.
3. Heat about ½ inch of oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Drop the potato mixture by tablespoonfuls into the oil and press gently with a spatula to flatten. Fry until golden brown on both sides. Transfer to drain on paper towels (if necessary, keep the fried deruni warm in a 200°F oven). Repeat the process with the remaining potato mixture. Serve at once.
Nutritional information is based on 6 servings.