When I’ve carried out surveys amongst Swedes to find their favourite Swedish meals, potato pancakes, called raggmunk in Swedish, always come out near the top of the list. Raggmunk is, as is common in Swedish, two words joined together. Ragg means crispy and munk means donut pan.
Swedes normally eat them with fried salted pork and lingonberries. In the UK neither are readily available! Most butchers can order salted pork for you with a couple of days notice. It looks very like unsliced bacon, but is considerably saltier. However, I think raggmunk goes very well with some nice thick bacon rashers, so I’ve never bothered ordering salted pork.
Fresh lingonberries are very hard to obtain in the UK, although most Swedes would eat raggmunk with raw stirred lingonberries (rårörda), which can be bought in specialist shops. Alternatively, you can use lingonberry jam (lingonsylt), which is available from IKEA.
Note that råraka is also often translated as potato pancake, but they are not quite the same thing. I translate råraka as lacy potato cake, as it is made just from grated potato and egg, without any batter. John Duxbury
• Although the batter can be made in advance, don’t grate the potatoes until you are ready to fry the raggmunk because they discolour quickly.
• Don’t spread the batter too thickly. Ideally you want the pancake crisp and buttery around the edges.
• For health reasons I eat grilled bacon with raggmunk. However, you can fry some salted pork or bacon in a pan first and then add some of the bacon fat to the butter to flavour the raggmunk.
• Don’t use new potatoes for this dish as they don’t contain enough starch.
|800 g||(1¾ lb)||potatoes|
|90 g||(¾ cup)||plain (all-purpose) flour|
|freshly ground black pepper|
|300 ml||(1¼ cups)||milk|
|50 g||(½ stick)||butter (2 oz)|
1. Peel the potatoes, cover with water and put to one side.
2. Tip the flour and salt into a bowl. Add some freshly ground black pepper. Beat in the egg and then gradually add the milk. Carry on beating until the batter is completely lump-free.
3. When you are ready, put a medium sized frying pan on to a fairly high heat. Meanwhile, grate the potatoes and add to the batter. Mix thoroughly.
4. When the pan is hot, fry the pancakes in butter (add a small amount of bacon fat if desired), two at a time, for about one minute per side until they are golden brown. Remove from the pan and keep warm.
5. Repeat with the rest of the mixture. You should have enough mixture for at least a dozen pancakes, each about 5 cm (2”) in diameter.
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