Draniki Is Belarus's Tasty Version Of Classic Potato Pancakes

draniki served with sour cream
draniki served with sour cream - nesavinov/Shutterstock

It's hard not to like potatoes. These versatile root vegetables shine in a variety of forms and can be baked, fried, or pureed. Whether they are repurposed into gnocchi, or simply baked whole, a single technique can completely transform their texture.

When it comes to creating a perfectly crispy spud dish, few methods yield a better result than shredding. In the U.S., potatoes with such a consistency are most frequently employed in hash browns. However, abroad, other renditions exist, including a potato pancake format. In Belarus, an application of this technique is known as draniki.

In this dish, shredded potatoes are pan-fried into thin, circular shapes. Dolloped with sour cream and served in a large stack, they make for a deliciously crispy rendition of the spud. A national dish of the Eastern European country, draniki represent Belarus's affinity for the popular root vegetable. Just a taste of this potato pancake variation will showcase why. Let's dive into the background of this delicious spud creation.

Read more: 25 Ways Potatoes Are Eaten Around The World

A Beloved Belarusian Snack

draniki served on paper towel
draniki served on paper towel - Ermak Oksana/Shutterstock

Although interlinked with Belarus, these savory pancakes originated in the Russian Empire and were first mentioned in print in 1830. At the time, Belarus was ruled by tsarist Russia, which makes it hard to determine if the food actually originated in the region. Due to their similarity to other European potato pancakes, like Germany's kartoffelpuffer and Ukraine's deruny, some suggest they were introduced from abroad. The dish also bears a strong resemblance to latkes and Polish tartuhy.

Regardless of origin, draniki became an emblematic dish of Belarus, accelerated by the country's abundant consumption of potatoes. The name "draniki" translates to "shredded," which is the technique applied to the spud. Once prepared, they're frequently served in a traditional ceramic vessel and topped with sour cream. In addition to acting as a standalone side, they are often accompanied by stews or even served with jam as a dessert. Such malleability makes them an ideal weeknight dish as they can be conveniently integrated into any meal.

How To Prepare Draniki

draniki garnished with herbs
draniki garnished with herbs - Ermak Oksana/Shutterstock

Draniki come together quickly and only require a few components. The star ingredient, of course, is plenty of shredded potatoes and salt. Aromatics suchs an onion and carrot can also be added, as well as minced meat for an extra decadent version. Chefs may choose to include additional spices -- such as paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and pepper -- however, such flourishes are optional. What you won't even find in draniki is flour.

Once the draniki mixture is made, it is not formed into patties ahead of time. Instead, scoops of mixture are dolloped in hot oil and then flatted in the pan to sear on each side. Once browned and crispy, stack the pancakes and top them with sour cream, chopped fresh herbs, like green onions and dill, or even applesauce. Delicious on their own or as a side, draniki transform potatoes into a delicious dish in no time.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.