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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bramboraki (Czech potato pancakes)

These lovely Czech potato pancakes as a common side dish or starter in Czech cuisine. To transform them into a main course for a light brunch, one could simply top them with sour cream, vegetables, pickles, fish pieces or anything else one could think of. Just as fast, they can be turned into dessert by topping with cream and sugar or honey or any fruit sauce or jam.  Only keep in mind that if you plan to have them sweet, better skip adding any onion and garlic :P
By themselves, they are a great substitute for bread, they are fluffy and quite consistent while still remaining extremely light calorie-wise. But also eaten alone they can be quite plain, which is why they are usually served with something else (even if it's just a little tangy topping).
Also, they are remarkably similar to the Jewish Latkes which are served at Hanukkah and not only then. They say that the cooking oil used to fry them resembles the holy oil that miraculously kept the temple (of Solomon) candles burning for days more than they should when the temple was returned to Jewish custody.
The major difference between the Czech and Jewish variations is that the first uses a little milk in the dough, but to be honest every peoples in Eastern Europe seem to have a version of these golden potato pancakes, including little variations. More on that here
Bottom line is: they're nice and easy and golden and fluffy and you'll love them. :)

More Czech goodies:

Garlic soup with chorizo and mustard (Czech).
Czech poppy seed cakes (kolache).

Ingredients (makes about 8 Bramboraki, serves 2):
  • 500 g golden potatoes
  • half a medium onion
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons of milk
  • 4-5 tablespoons of flour
  • 4-5 spoons of olive oil
Clean the potatoes and wipe them with a kitchen towel. Prepare a good grater and a medium pot half-filled with water. Start peeling the potatoes:

As soon as you've finished peeling one potato, grate it on the coarse grater side and put it in the water pot to protect it from browning. Continue with the next potato and so on until you're done with them:

Next, peel and mince the onion half. Peel the garlic cloves:

Heat a little olive oil in a pan and gently fry the onion. Cut the garlic into little pieces and add it to the pan. Fry them for 3-4 minutes until golden / lightly browned:

Next, drain the potato mass very well. After you consider it drained, take out handfuls and squeeze them in your fists to remove any extra water:

Salt the mass. Lightly beat the eggs:

Add the milk, flour and fried garlic and onion to the potato mass:

Mix everything into a batter:

Next, put olive oil into a frying pan. Wait for it to get hot (if you put the bramboraki in the pan too early their consistency will not turn out too right). Then, put a little of the mixture in (we used a large large spoon) and pat it to reach 2-3 cm thickness. Make sure the pieces are far away from each other and there's no danger of sticking:

After 5 minutes or so, turn them on the other side. Make sure you lift to look once in a while to check readiness. After another 5 minutes (give or take) they're done. Set them aside and put in the pan the next batch. 

Repeat until you finish all the composition. Best served warm. If you won't have them right away, it easy to keep them warm in a barely-heated oven until later when you're ready to serve them. Any way, dig in! 


  1. I came across this post while searching for a recipe for pancakes I once had in Prague that were topped with some sort of delicious gravy and chicken. I am going to have to try it! Here is the post I wrote, linking to your article, if you want to czech (haha) it out.

  2. Hey! Glad to inspire :)

    We czech-ed it out and your other blog posts are interesting and fun to read.

    See ya around,
    M and B.


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