Most Eastern European countries have their version of potato pancakes, with small variations in the way you grate and bind the potatoes. In Ukraine, they’re called deruny, and in Belarus, it’s draniki, but the two are very similar. And they’re serious business! A Minsk native once explained to me that potatoes are the national specialty, and Belarusian cookbooks typically have a potato section, just as big as the appetizer or the meat section, if not bigger.
Traditionally, potatoes are coarsely grated into a mixture of egg and flour, and the pancakes are served with sour cream. Onions can also be added in the batter or cooked and served on top. My version is slightly different — the milk I am adding produces a softer result — for a simple reason: until recently, I had never bothered looking for deruny in a cookbook, and just made up my own!
This is meant to be a quick recipe, and the resulting pancakes are more rustic than the potato blini I made here. Even the proportions are kept simple, so you can easily memorize them if you often make deruny on the go!
Yields about 10 pancakes
2 oz flour
black pepper, ground
2 oz milk
16 oz peeled Yukon Gold potatoes
- Place the flour, eggs, salt, pepper and milk in a bowl, and mix with a whisk until smooth. Let rest for a few minutes.
- Grate the potatoes into the bowl and mix.
- Heat a a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Melt a small piece of butter, then ladle in some batter. Cook until golden brown on both sides, transfer to an oven-proof dish and top with another small piece of butter. Repeat until you run out of batter.
- Cover with foil and bake in 350 F oven for 10 minutes. Serve hot.