Mashed potatoes are such a heavenly comfort food. Our top tip is always making extra and keep the extra to make vegetarian potato cakes, spiced up with some eastern European flavours.
Potatoes are the basis for many dishes in the Belarusian national cuisine; there are plenty of recipes. Traditional Belarusian dishes are increasingly being enhanced by new and interesting products and sauces; becoming healthier and as tasty as ever. Belarusian fare will never disappoint!
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For the quick cucumber pickle:
Heat a splash of oil in a frying pan on medium heat and fry the onion for about 5 minutes until they are soft and sweet.
Add the mustard seeds and stand back while they pop. Scoop out the onion mixture and put to one side to cool.
With the pan still on the heat, add the turmeric and curry leaves and fry for another minute or so, then put the whole lot into a bowl to cool slightly.
Add the mashed potato and lentils to the onions, then season and mix well. Wilt the spinach in a hot pan with a little oil then add this to the potato mixture. Divide the mixture into 4 portions and shape them into 4 potato cakes. Put them into the fridge to chill while you do a couple of other little jobs.
To make your pickle, put the sliced cucumber into a bowl and add all the other pickle ingredients. Using your hands, scrunch the cucumber slices to get the flavours going.
If you want to make tzatziki, use the other half of the cucumber. Take the seeds out and coarsely grate. Add mint or parsley, chopped chives and mix with 2 tablespoons of yoghurt or sour cream (otherwise known as smetana in Belarus). Mix well and season with salt and pepper.
For a healthy option bake the potato cakes in the oven at 190C, Gas 5 for 25 minutes until golden brown.
Alternatively, fry in a frying pan on your hob or cooker. Put your frying pan back on the heat. Take the potato cakes out of the fridge and fry them gently and carefully in a little oil for about 2–3 minutes on each side, until warmed through and crispy brown.
Serve each potato cake with a serving of smoked salmon, a spoonful of pickle, sour cream or creme fraiche on the side.
This recipe was inspired by Anna Jones. A food stylist, author and food writer.
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