Sunday, December 9, 2012

Draniki (Belarusian Potato Pancake) Recipe


Some years ago a Belarusian friend promised to make me draniki’s if I visited Belarus. I didn’t visit, never got the chance to try authentic homemade draniki and it got forgotten until I saw it on Yuliya’s blog. It brought back memories and the urge to make it in my own home.

The word draniki means 'having being grated'. It may not be the most enticing sounding name but don't let the word discourage you. With its crispy exterior and soft interior, draniki's are absolutely delicious. It is generally served with sour cream but I was quite happy to eat it on its own.

Russiapedia has the following to say about draniki:

Draniki originated in Russia some 200 years ago. The first mention of the dish dates back to 1830, though it is also said the dish was a kind of imitation of a German course. There are international variants of Russian draniki such as Ukrainian deruny or kakorki, Polish tartyuhy and Israeli latkes.

Draniki, quite unlike Japanese sushi or French fondue are not considered an exquisite dish. This is due to the “low origin” of the main ingredient – the potato.

There are numerous recipes for the dish that vary from family to family and from region to region. Some add onions; others who are more carnivorous add minced meat and still others mix grated potatoes with grated carrots.

But traditional Russian draniki are prepared in accordance to several fixed rules, the main one being never use flour when making draniki!

The traditional recipe just uses potatoes, onion, sourcream and salt. All ingredients are mixed then fried. The traditional recipe looks interesting but I have already made something similar before, my baked version. The traditional version mixes sourcream with the batter whereas the ‘modern’ recipe serves sourcream on the side. Perhaps the Belorussians deconstructed the original recipe even before today's chefs knew what deconstruction means!


5 lbs potatoes
1 medium onion
2 eggs
3 tablespoons flour
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetable oil
Sour cream for serving (optional)

  1. Grate the onions and potatoes in a large bowl. Grate onions first. If you start with potatoes they will discolor 
  2. Add eggs, flout, garlic, salt and pepper and mix well
  3. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add 1-2 tablespoons of oil
  4. Place tablespoons of batter in the pan and flatten
  5. Cook until the bottom is golden brown, turn over and cook on the other side. You may need to add more oil when turning over the pancakes



  1. Hi, Three Cookies!

    Hope you enjoyed these little beauties, they look yummy!!! So what did you have them with? Sour cream? Apple sauce? ;-)
    By the way, is that a souvenir from Altai? :-)

    1. Good spotting, yes souvenir from Mount Altai. Its meant to bring good luck, not sure if its working but I bought many so it certainly brought good luck to the seller:)
      I had the draniki's on its own and together with sausage - on its own was nicer

  2. Hahaha! What were you doing in Altai?
    Do you mean with sausage inside a dranik? If so, that's called a koldun (singular, or kolduny plural)
    I did not get to make Armenian cake this weekend :-( only because I had a giant a$$ cheesecake in the fridge (I did not make that!)

    1. I was on holiday. The original plan was to go to Lake Baikal but we couldn't find places to stay because we didn't book in advance. So Altai it was, and it was really great.
      No, the sausage wasn't inside. Never heard of koldun, interesting name.
      Sounds like the cheesecake is now history:) Good job!

  3. Haha! the more fat you put into the pan, the more delicious they are unfortunately and they do absorb fat don't they? Your draniki look fantastic and make me crave the Polish version... (which is almost the same). My favourite way to have these is to sprinkle them with salt (I like them very salty) and serve with fried smoked sausage.... It would give a heart attack to many dieticians.
    As I have mentioned the Polish version is called "placki ziemniaczane" and "tarciuchy" (the correct spelling) is a regional name from Malopolska region (which I have learnt thanks to your post by the way because I have never heard about it!).
    Your souvenir has certainly brought good luck to the seller (I love your sense of humour!).

    1. They definitely absorb fat, the more you add the more they will absorb. They seem very thirsty:)
      I don't know where Russiapedia got the name tartyuhy from. They overlooked the national version and went for a regional version. Not very well researched, and they probably don't have many readers reviewing articles, unlike Wikipedia

  4. I just love draniki. My grandparents came from Belarus to the US in the early 1900's. As I was growing up I watched and learned how to make draniki. I see a lot of recipes for it but there is one ingredient that I never see used. And that is pork salt. It gives it such and amazing flavor. We use the smallest grate to grate the potato's so the draniki I see in this picture does not look like our family recipe and we fry it in the pork salt. I suppose it's more time consuming but it's worth it. We cut up the pork salt into tiny cubes and fry until all the fat is melted which could take awhile. My family also uses the pork salt instead of using butter or margarine to sauté the onions and celery for Holiday bread stuffing. What an amazing flavor it has. The left over salt pork cubes my grandfather use to put a few in the pan as he made his fried eggs in the morning which gave it flavor and salt at the same time. There is a recipe for babka that we make the same as the draniki but we bake it and cut it in slices like a loaf. A much quicker way to make and serve more to the family faster. This is a must have at all our holidays. We also fried lots of mushrooms. Another favorite of mine. If you know of any recipe for cold beet soup I would appreciate it. That is one thing I haven't tried. My mom loved it as a child but lost her mom very early in life and the recipe was gone with her. I would love to find a good recipe for my grandchildren to enjoy. Happy cooking!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. I've seen draniki recipes that use mashed potato also, but personally I prefer a coarser grate because then you have more crispy bits!
      Pork salt is something I have never come across. I've just read about it, sounds interesting and delicious. I will look for it.
      Unfortunately I don't have a recipe for cold beet soup. I only know the hot borscht

  5. This is a nice version of potato pancakes, with the feature of being crispy from the shredded potatoes. However, these are commonly called latkes (among other names) and are almost certainly not what your friend in Belarus would have served you. Authentic draniki are made from finely grated raw potato, like what the perforated side of a box grater produces, often with some liquid drained and the settled starch added back. No flour, just similarly grated onion plus some egg and salt. They come out more like pancakes rather than fritters. Two different textures and potato flavors, both good, but if you are curious what they eat in Belarus you should try making the draniki also.

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