There is perhaps no other food that has more names in the Hungarian language than potato pancakes. Tócsni, lapcsánka or röszti – they are only three from its 60 names. Whatever it’s called, everyone certainly knows this comfort food: grated potatoes mixed with some flour, flattened into pancake form and shallow-fried in oil or lard. Popular, cheap and delicious.
Potato pancakes can be made in many different ways. Potatoes can be grated finely or coarsly; there are those who mix the grated potatoes with only flour and salt, others add eggs and onions, or finely chopped parsley leaves, grated zucchini, carrot or celeriac root to the mixture, too. They can be fried in oil or lard on the stove or roasted in the oven.
Potato pancakes are often served with some kind of sauce: the most popular one is sour cream flavoured with crushed garlic (I add summer savory, too, whose smell and taste are reminiscent of black pepper), but they can be topped with the mixture of oil and crushed garlic, or with mustard and ketchup, or herbed yogurt.
- 1 kg (~2 1/4 lb) potatoes
- 3 garlic cloves
- 4 tbsp oat flakes
- 1 heaping tbsp flour
- 2 heaping tsp ground paprika
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp salt
- small bunch of parsley leaves, finely chopped
- lard or oil for shallow-frying
For the serving:
- 1 1/2 cups sour cream
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- pinch of summer savory
Grate potatoes and garlic into a large bowl. Drain off any excess liquid. Mix in eggs, salt, black pepper, paprika and finely chopped parsley leaves. Add flour and oat flakes to make the mixture thick.
Heat 1/4 inch lard or oil in a skillet over medium heat. Spoon 3-4 mounds into hot lard, and flatten to make 1/2 inch thick pancakes. Fry both sides until golden brown. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain.
Serve hot, with sour cream flavoured with garlic and summer savory.