Potato pancakes, latkes or boxties are shallow-fried pancakes of grated or ground potato, flour and egg, often flavored with grated garlic or onion and seasoning. They may be topped with a variety of condiments, ranging from the savory (such as sour cream or cottage cheese), to the sweet (such as apple sauce or sugar), or they may be served plain. The dish is sometimes made from mashed potatoes to make pancake-shaped croquettes.
Potato pancakes are associated with the cuisines of many European and Middle Eastern century-old traditions including German and Austrian (as Kartoffelpuffer, Reibekuchen, Reiberdatschi, Erdäpfelpuffer and Erdäpfellaibchen), Belarusian (as дранікі draniki), Bulgarian (as patatnik), Czech (as bramborák or cmunda), Hungarian (as tócsni and other names), Iranian (as kotlet or cutlet), Jewish (as latka, Yiddish: לאַטקע, Hebrew: לביבה levivah, plural לביבות levivot), Latvian (as kartupeļu pankūkas), Lithuanian (as bulviniai blynai), Luxembourg (Gromperekichelcher), Polish (as placki ziemniaczane), Romanian (as tocini or tocinei), Russian (as драники draniki), Slovak (as zemiakové placky, haruľa or nálečníky), Ukrainian (as деруни deruny) and any cuisine that has adopted similar dishes.
It is the national dish of Belarus. In Germany, potato pancakes are eaten either salty (as a side dish) or sweet with apple sauce, or blueberries, sugar and cinnamon; they are a very common menu item during outdoor markets and festivals in colder seasons (especially at Christmas markets). In Swiss cuisine, Rösti is a variation that never contains egg or flour. Potato pancake is a traditional favorite in the southern parts of Indiana during holiday festivities.
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