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 thoughts on “Kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes) with olive sour cream

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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 !

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

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

  7. 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!

  8. 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…

  9. 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!

  10. 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!

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