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7 Delicious Belarusian Recipes With Potatoes

Belarusians have a longstanding history with potatoes. A notable portion of this Slavic nation’s national cuisine is taken up by meals which incorporate potatoes in their ingredients and for good reasons. The starchy crops are easy to produce and are highly nutritious. Contrary to popular belief, they aren’t high on carbs, but are abundant on potassium, magnesium, protein and vitamins from the B and C group.

The Belarusian diet had been lacking meat while focusing more on vegetarian dishes for centuries and when the potato was implemented in various recipes in the 1700s, Belarusians found numerous ways to preserve their affinity for this root veggie’s delicious taste and varied nutrients.

Draniki

Not only the most famous Belarusian dish in general, but the most famous vegetable “pancakes” in the Slavic world, the draniki resemble the ever-popular potato fritters and are extremely easy to prepare – all you need are some grated potatoes, salt and a frying pan. They are thin, crispy at the sides and typically served with a dipping sauce based on sour cream or yogurt spiced with herbs or leeks. Full recipe: here

Babka

This is not to be confused with the bundt cake named babka or the Soviet Jew dish with spaghetti named babka or the chocolaty Easter bread called babka. The Belarusian potato babka is an entirely different dish that consists of grated potatoes, beaten eggs, meat chunks (usually sausage, pork cuts or bacon) baked inside a casserole or skillet pan. It varies in texture from a smooth pudding-like dish to a chunky potato pie. Full recipe: here

Tsibriki

In a nutshell, tsibriki are bites made from grated potatoes. Typically fried in lard instead of oil, they are a traditional Belarusian dish, and can be served as a snack, a vegetarian meze, a side dish or an appetizer. Due to their tiny size and crunchy texture these Belarusian tater tots are a favorite snack for youngsters and adults alike, and despite their simplistic looks, they leave a memorable impression in many foreigners. Full recipe: here

Kishka/ Kizska

For those who haven’t tried kishka or kizska before, it’s a “sausage” that’s been stuffed with potatoes (and sometimes meat, of course). To prepare this Belarusian dish you need to sauté a mixture of finely grated potatoes, onion, lard crackling (and if desired, some type of actual meat) in a frying pan, then look for your grandma’s sausage stuffing machine (or be a masochist and stuff it manually with a wooden spoon) and fill the sausage chitterlings with the mix before searing them on each side in a hot pan. Full recipe: here

Kolduny/ Pyzy

One of the greatest things about Belarusian kolduny or pyzy is that they come in a variety of shapes and sizes with no right or wrong way to prepare them. They are either small bite-sized balls or larger, pelmeni-like dumplings, which can have fillings of all sorts, and are whipped up with potatoes instead of regular flour. Serve them as a side dish or hors d’oeuvre, as soup dumplings or as a snack. Full recipe: here

Shchi

Traditionally a Russian soup that made its way into numerous Slavic countries, the shchi has a special version in Belarus, which calls for… as you might have already guessed – potatoes. Due to the fact that Belarusian cuisine has embraced potatoes as a substitute for bread, they are an irreplaceable part of most soups. And due to the popularity of shchi, every Belarusian babushka knows how to cook it. Full recipe: here

Yushka

Borrowed from Ukraine, the yushka is among the most common fish soups found in Belarus. Prepared with a variety of freshwater river fish, lots of potatoes and a pinch of love, it becomes an unforgettable delight that you’ll either love or hate, because let’s face it – there is no way to remain impartial to a bowl of yushka. Full recipe: here

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  1. Some of these dishes are also popular in eastern part of Poland – Podlasie and Suwalszczyzna which are close to Belarus. I am not saying that these dishes are not from Belarusian national cuisine but they are also popular in Poland – especially Kishka (in Polish: Kiszka ziemniaczana) or Kolduny (in Polish: Kartacze). I love doing potato pancakes (“placki ziemniaczane”) but depending from what part of Poland you come from we serve them different – either with sour cream and salt or with sour cream and sugar or with goulash (meat stew).

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