Hot potatoes


Czech food and cuisine - that is the topic of our ABC of Czech series this season. And today we look at the potato - a staple food in many parts of the world. Plain boiled, mashed or baked - potatoes are usually served as a side dish. Today we'll look at some traditional Czech recipes in which the potato is the principal ingredient.

As in many other languages, potatoes in Czech have a number of names. Let's hear some of them: erteple - from the German Erd-Apfel, the apple of the earth, zemáky - from the Czech word zemì or ground, kobzole - used mostly in North Moravia and bandury a variation of the official and most widespread term brambory. The word suggests that potatoes were brought to Bohemia from the German state of Brandenburg - Braniborsko.

The most popular potato dish is probably bramborák. It is a potato pancake that is usually eaten on its own but it can also be served with venison or red meat. The batter is made from grated raw potatoes, flour, milk, eggs, marjoram, salt and lots of garlic. It is fried in oil and eaten hot.

On the other hand bramborové placky which translates again as potato pancakes is usually a sweet dish. To make them you need soft boiled potatoes, flour and a pinch of salt. Roll the dough with a rolling pin and then cut into squares or round shapes. Fry in oil and serve with fruit jam. My granny used to simply roast them on a hotplate till they turned brown and then she poured melted butter over them. A real delicacy.

Another potato dish which is loved by some and hated by others is ¹kubánky, sweet potato dumplings. Again they are made from mashed potatoes and flour but boiled in water. They can be sprinkled with poppy seeds or fried bread crumbs and sugar, and according to some they should swim in fat on the plate. Definitely not my favourite.

Bramborový salát
Another type of potato dumpling which is generally favoured by most Czechs is bramborové knedlíky. They are served as a side dish to roast pork with sauerkraut or spinach, or with venison with cream sauce and cranberries.

And finally, potato salad, bramborový salát, everyone's favourite Christmas Eve dish that is served with fried carp. You need boiled potatoes, onions, green peas, carrots, celery, apples, gherkins and whatever else your family likes in the salad. You cut everything into small pieces and mix in mayonnaise.

Although Christmas is a long way away, potato salad makes a nice summer side dish too.

And that's all we have time for today, so till next time dobrou chu» - bon appetit!