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Soul food Polish-style

7 Jan

One of my favorite foods in the world are potato pancakes or placki ziemnaczane. My earliest memories include my babcia (grandmother) grating the young golden potatoes, mixing up the batter and frying them up to a crispy goldenness and sliding them onto my plate fresh off the frying pan. I would gobble them up, in heaven as the little apartment filled up with the sweet and savory smell of frying potatoes. Hmm. To this day, potato pancakes remain my favorite food and a food in which I take extreme comfort, from the preparation to the final moment of feasting.

Becoming vegan raised the question of whether I would be able to continue enjoying this comfort food, as you need an egg to bind my babcia’s recipe. I have experimented and discovered, that flax meal works wonders and adds a slightest touch of nuttiness, which works great when fried, while apple sauce adds a touch of sweet. Today I share with you my vegan potato pancake recipe. These taste just as good (of course, nothing beats babcia’s, sure you understand). You can grate them finely almost to a mush, if you want a more pancake-y effect; this will make the grated potato give off more water, and you will need to add more flour. This time, I grated the potatoes coarsely with the effect of a more hashbrown-y pancake. The taste, is fantastic either way!

Potato Pancakes with Mushroom-Thyme Gravy, Tempeh-Mushroom Crumble and steamed green-beans

Potato Pancakes Polish Style

4 medium potatoes (grated to 3 C)

½ C Trader Joe’s Gluten Free pancake mix (or ½ C regular flour if you aren’t gluten free)

1 Tbs flax meal mixed with 3 Tbs warm water (option – 1/3 C unsweetened apple sauce)

1 tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

Grate potatoes.  Add flax meal and mix thoroughly. Add flour. Season with salt and pepper.

(Note: If you end up grating the potatoes finely, you will end up having to add more flour. You want the effect of American pancakes, not runny like for crepes – a bit clumpy and thick but wet enough to pour into a pancake shape. The thickly grated pancakes will result in a much clumpier batter and you will have to shape them on the griddle.)

Heat griddle or skillet. Spray with cooking spray or pour in enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan (olive oil is not the best choice here – try canola, corn or vegetable oil). The cooking spray works just fine, but the more oil, the crispier the pancake will be.  Pour in batter into palm-size pancakes. Cook until golden brown and flip. Serve immediately.

To serve, sprinkle with sugar (I know it sounds weird, but if you can eat sugar (which I do not), it’s very tasty.), spread yogurt or sour cream (or the vegan alternative) or throw your favorite sauce on them. This time, I served them up with Mushroom-Thyme Gravy, Tempeh-Mushroom Crumble (Tempeh and diced mushrooms sauteed in Earth Balance with salt, pepper and a sprig of fresh thyme for the herby flavor.) with a side of steamed green beans.

Enjoy!

– Mags