Kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes) with olive sour cream

I have very strong opinions on potato pancakes or kartoffelpuffer (or reibekuchen) as we call them in German. My grandmother used to make them for us and I was often allowed to help her grating the potatoes and onions for the batter. Of course, my grandmother made the best kartoffelpuffer in the world! I remember eating them with sugar and apple sauce and feeling very happy.
My grandmother died ten years ago and I was never able develop a vegan version of her potato pancakes which were made with eggs. Of course my mother (and my dad) make pancakes which are very close to my grandmother’s and I should probably just have asked my mom. But I never did because to me, the potato pancakes are connected to nobody else but my grandmother. Okay, end of nostalgic family history trip, fast forward to a couple of weeks ago when I came home to a plate of potato pancakes.

P, who only met my grandmother once or twice and probably never ate her potato pancakes, had decided to make dinner for me. And guess what, P. is the reincarnation of my Oma when it comes to kartoffelpuffer.

His recipe is the easiest recipe in the world. Forget egg replacers, forget binding agents, forget starches. Just potatoes, onions, salt. The most important step in this recipe is to grate the potatoes very finely. They need to be half mashed half grated. And the potato liquid has to removed with the help of a kitchen towel. That is all.

I loved them so  much that P. had to make them a second time. We didn’t eat them with apple sauce (But I swear, we will do this soon). Instead we decided to go for a savoury version with Terry’s chorizo (from Viva Vegan) and olive sour cream.

P. grated 700 g (1.6 lb) of potatoes and two onions. It is important to use a very fine grater, so the potatoes will release their liquid. It should look like this:

P. grating potatoes

After grating the potatoes and onions, P. transferred the mixture to a kitchen towel and pressed out as much liquid as possible. The mass was almost dry:

“potato dough”

Now season with salt and pepper and set aside. Heat a non-stick skillet to medium heat and lightly spray with oil. That is right. These pancakes won’t require much fat. If you want them really crispy and greasy though, feel free to fry them in more oil.

Slowly fry them until brown on each side. We served them with Terry’s awesome chorizo from Viva Vegan. I made steamed mini sausages by dividing the dough into 16 equal pieces and steaming them for 30 minutes. I let them cool down and fried them in a tablespoon of oil.

Also on the plate: mushrooms and olive sour cream. The sour cream is a wonderfully versatile dip, similar to the tofu fraîche, but even more flavourful.

Olive sour cream

130 g (4.6 oz)  firm or super-firm tofu
55 g (1/4 cup) vegan mayonnaise
90 g (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) soy yoghurt
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons lime juice
20 scrapes nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 black olives, pitted

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to one week.

Now I wonder what my Oma would have said. Did your grandmother cook for you? And if she did, what was your favourite food? have you ever veganized it?

20 Comments

  • […] for a vegan version (although I haven’t made them myself) on a great vegan food blog called Seitan is my Motor.  There is also an intriguing recipe for vegan sour cream with olives.  Guten appetit! […]

  • 7 years ago

    Wow, looks amazing! I haven’t had Potato Pancakes since going vegan in 2008, how I miss them! I’m bookmarking this recipe for sure!!

  • 7 years ago

    Awesome! I totally want to try these.

  • 7 years ago

    Mihl, this looks SPECTACULAR! Seriously good. I also love the new layout of your blog.

  • 7 years ago

    This looks like a wonderful recreation. I feel the same way about some of my grandmother’s recipes – even though my mom makes them too, it’s just not the same. She died at the ripe old age of 94, but when I only known my husband for three months. I wish they could have met. I have only veganized her vegetables – but she loved a breakfast casserole, a green Jello salad, and some other things I haven’t even thought about veganizing.

  • 7 years ago

    Yay for Oma’s potato pancakes! That P is quite a gem. :D I am totally intrigued by the olive sour cream, too–it sounds fantastic and my head is reeling with all the possible uses for it!

  • 7 years ago

    Many thanks for sharing this. I love german recipes with potatoes and I already know this one will make me feel happy ! Thank you for your gorgeous blog !

  • 7 years ago

    What a sweet post, Mihl! I miss my Grams so, so much. She died 4 years ago. She wasn’t much of a cook at all (she believed in eating out & my uncle who lived with her joked that they only time he got a home cooked meal was when my Mum was there on a visit to cook for him!).

    I love potato pancakes so much, I haven’t made any this autumn, but now I’m craving some!

  • 7 years ago

    I so wish I had potatoes on hand, just so that I could make these pancakes right now. But then I would probably eat way too many of these in a single sitting!

  • veganhomemade
    7 years ago

    The pancakes look awesome! In combination with the sausages and mushrooms, it does sound just about perfect.

  • 7 years ago

    You aren’t kidding with that caption, a perfect meal. My goodness!

  • 7 years ago

    Ahh, the mysteries of the universe that we’ll never answer.

    I want that plate of food in my belly now!

  • 7 years ago

    I’m so glad P was able to recreate them for you! Potato pancakes are one of my favorite comfort foods & I love how beautiful and easy these seem. What a treat!

  • 7 years ago

    How delicious! Love it with the mushrooms instead of the usual savory route. What a sweet post.

    For me, grilled cheeses are the ultimate comfort food, but I haven’t attempted a vegan version yet…

  • 7 years ago

    I am the same way with my grandmother! No one can do it like she did. I miss her. This post was so sweet. I am sure she would have loved it. :)

  • 7 years ago

    How cool that P can make kartoffelpuffer just like your grandmother’s! That is awesome, I always drain my potatoes to make pancakes, but never so much. I will be draining the life out of those potatoes next time!

  • 7 years ago

    Oh, a new (to me) and certainly delicious way to enjoy potatoes! I’ve got to try these soon!

  • This looks AMAZING. I love potatoes in any form. My grandma didn’t cook much for me, but I do remember she loved 3 musketeers bars… maybe I should veganize those in her memory.

  • 7 years ago

    My grandmother made the best potato pancakes. And my mother made pretty good ones, too. My mother hand-grated the potatoes until she got a food processor, then she used that. I like my pancakes with fresh ground pepper and nothing else. The plate of food looks so wonderful, it’s making me want potato pancakes right now!

  • 7 years ago

    These look to die for. Thanks for sharing the recipe– I’ll be making these soon!

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