PotatoNik (not kugel!) #general


rebasolomon
 

Does anyone know a recipe for Potatonik?  I’ve tried the NY Times recipe online, and it’s not what I knew and loved.

Growing up, we never had potato kugel. My “Bubba” (not Bubbie, not Bobbie) always made Potatonik!  Her family was from Galicia, south of Przemysl and Western Ukraine (Ustrzyki Dolne, Posidov-Nowy Miasto, and Mostyska.) Potatonik used to be sold in the bakeries but now it has disappeared. 

Reba Harris Solomon


eslteacherdenise@...
 

Hello Reba,
Like you, my Bubba always made Potatonik (we nicknamed it, Nik, as kids).
Recipes differ from region to region and I have two.
My mother's was as follows:
take lots of peeled potatoes (raw) and put them in the blender
pour into a big bowl, add eggs, matza meal, and finely grated onion
season with lots of salt to taste. Add lots of vegetable oil Mix together. (She did it all by hand)
Work quickly or else the potatoes will turn color. Oil a pan generously and pour the mixture in.
Put in the oven at 350F and bake at least an hour or more until dark brown. 

The other recipe comes from a Polish lady.
2.5 LBS of raw potatoes
1.5 cups of chopped raw onion
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt and pepper
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/3 cup all purpose flour
 1-2 tsp of fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary or parsley
1) Peel and dice potatoes. Keep in cold water until ready to blend.
2) Dice onion and saute until golden. Set aside. Chop herbs and set aside.
3) Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9X5 loaf pan.
4) Place potatoes, eggs, salt, pepper in a blender. Blend until smooth. Then place
mixture in a large mixing bowl, add herbs and flour and hand mix until combined.
Pour mixture into loaf pan. Bake about 90 min until outside is golden brown and
middle is dry and set.
Serves 6-8.
--
Denise Lascelle (nee Cudeck) searching Gliklich/Trost/Cudeck
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
eslteacherdenise@...


Belinda Dishon
 

My family come from near Zolochov. We call it ‘Boolbenik’ Yum!
--
Belinda Dishon
Melbourne Australia
bdishon1@...
PECZENIK JACKER PRAGER KATZ KURZER


Odeda Zlotnick
 

Bulbes בולבעס was my aunt's term for potatoes.  She was born in Belarus, that's Yiddish.
--
Odeda Zlotnick
Jerusalem, Israel.


Jules Levin
 

I got the real thing from a Lithuanian woman in Vilna married to a Jew.  She had to get it right. Your two recipes can hardly be authentic, since they didn't use blenders in the shteytl.  (How did your mother use a blender by hand?)

The peeled potatoes are soaked in cold water over nite; this was missed in your recipes.  The potatoes are grated, not blended.  If you want the authentic texture, grate!  Besides the salt and pepper, you need to add garlic.  The Jews' use of garlic was a stereotype in Eastern Europe; you can't omit it.  Also, the name is kugel.  This is so Jewish that it is one of the few Yiddish words borrowed into Lithuanian--kugelis.  It is also borrowed into Polish and Russian.  Your Polish recipe is a little too la-de-la to be authentic.  I'm surprised it didn't call for a pinch of sugar!

Authentically yours,

Jules Levin,

Los Angeles

On 8/28/21 5:17 AM, eslteacherdenise@... wrote:
Hello Reba,
Like you, my Bubba always made Potatonik (we nicknamed it, Nik, as kids).
Recipes differ from region to region and I have two.
My mother's was as follows:
take lots of peeled potatoes (raw) and put them in the blender
pour into a big bowl, add eggs, matza meal, and finely grated onion
season with lots of salt to taste. Add lots of vegetable oil Mix together. (She did it all by hand)
Work quickly or else the potatoes will turn color. Oil a pan generously and pour the mixture in.
Put in the oven at 350F and bake at least an hour or more until dark brown. 

The other recipe comes from a Polish lady.
2.5 LBS of raw potatoes
1.5 cups of chopped raw onion
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt and pepper
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/3 cup all purpose flour
 1-2 tsp of fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary or parsley
1) Peel and dice potatoes. Keep in cold water until ready to blend.
2) Dice onion and saute until golden. Set aside. Chop herbs and set aside.
3) Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9X5 loaf pan.
4) Place potatoes, eggs, salt, pepper in a blender. Blend until smooth. Then place
mixture in a large mixing bowl, add herbs and flour and hand mix until combined.
Pour mixture into loaf pan. Bake about 90 min until outside is golden brown and
middle is dry and set.
Serves 6-8.
--
Denise Lascelle (nee Cudeck) searching Gliklich/Trost/Cudeck
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
eslteacherdenise@...


Jules Levin
 


On 8/28/21 9:23 PM, Odeda Zlotnick wrote:
Bulbes בולבעס was my aunt's term for potatoes.  She was born in Belarus, that's Yiddish.


This Yiddish word is borrowed from Lithuanian bulve 'potato'.  Much of what is now Belarus was Lithuanian-speaking until the 20th Century.  I believe this is limited to Litvak Yiddish.  Potatonik is clearly Yinglish--unknown anywhere east of Ellis Island.

Jules Levin




--
Odeda Zlotnick
Jerusalem, Israel.


Alan Cohen
 

What is being described is actually a kind of potato kugel but because it omits onions and shmaltz sounds more like a giant latke. Anyway there's no such thing as an authentic recipe in Eastern European Jewish cooking; everyone's version was authentic to the cook and different to anyone else. Also Jules is right - no blenders just hands.
My mother's latkes were made in a similar way also using grated potatoes, left to stand often overnight to allow any excess water to settle out and be discarded. Then add egg and "enough" matzo meal  before shaping into small rissole shapes and frying in oil. Never a giant cake version. And she didn't use garlic.
Alan Cohen
Of mixed descent, Ukraine and Bessarabia.

Virus-free. www.avg.com


Henry Carrey Boston,MA . Carey/Kirzhner/Berestyaner , Belous , Isenberg - Lutsk ; Postolov/Herman/Kolovsky-Zhitomir
 


I never knew from Potatonik,Bulbenik or Kartoflnik  only kugel and latkes . However , checking the various entries on line , it seems that some people call a large latke made in a frying pan  a potatonik ( e.g. Mark Bittman)  . WIth more or less the same ingredients , if you bake it in the oven , it becomes a a "kugel". 

Others make the claim that a " real" potatonik is made with yeast and baked in an oven .  Clearly , there were different versions , which is fine . I am wary of people claiming X way or Y way is the " real" or "authentic"  recipe since it seems that my grandmother may have made things  differently than your grandmother . At the same time , before the era of food processors , the latkes and kugels I ate ( more or less the same ingredients ) were finely grated on a "ribayzn" ( hand grater ) as the sore knuckles of my childhood could  attest . When I visited Austria and Germany , their potato "pancakes" were finely grated and tasted very similar to the ones I grew up with . So, when I taste shoe-string potato latkes which are ubiquitous nowadays , I tend to turn up my nose and say " Feh!" - these are not REAL latkes. So, I can understand both points of view. 

in this string , some people have offered recipes which look like the potatoes are mashed in the processor rather than grated  . If so, this is a different animal . I have tasted Polish and Irish potato pancakes made with mashed cooked or raw potatoes and they did not taste at all  like finely-grated raw potato  latkes .

It may be that letting the potatoes soak overnight as Mr. Levin suggests  improves the flavor or texture , but that doesn't make it a more or less authentic recipe only "possibly " a common method for preparing potatoes in Lithuania .
 
What people seem really to be asking is " Was the "potatonik" of my American/Australian childhood a  version of an Eastern European variation of a kugel /latke - with or without yeast . in a pan or oven - or was it an immigrant  invention ? "

The name "potatonik" seems to indicate an invention in an English speaking country , but a food expert has to do some researching and may not come up with a definitive answer .  (For example ,  I believe  that the NY Times food writer  after much research never conclusively determined one way or the other whether  the "byaly" originally came from Byalistok or that  some NY bakers from Byalistok created a new version of a similar bread from the old country. ) 
As for " bulbe" vs. "kartofl" vs. "pateyteh" , I am sure an expert on Yiddish etymology could tell you how widespread "bulbe" was used  or if it was just a "Litvish" word . We spoke  " Volin" or Southeast Yiddish dialect at home  and used " kartofl" at home and in Yiddish school . However, everyone knew the word "bulbe" from the song "Bulbes" about how poor Jews in the late 1800's into the 1900's survived on a diet of mostly potatoes every day with an occasional special treat of a " kugel" that had eggs, flour and onions etc in it  as well as potatoes.  
 
 
--
Henry H. Carrey


Moshe Berman
 

You can buy potatonik today from Moishe’s Bakery on the Lower East Side in New York! I grew up with it just a few years ago. 


Jules Levin, this is certainly not Kugel - it’s a different texture and flavor. If you’re confusing the two, you don’t know what you’re missing. 


Sadly, I don’t have a recipe, but I plan to look for one. 


Best,
Moshe Berman
Boca Raton, FL


Todd Brody
 

Potato Nik is a very real thing that isn't a latke and it isn't potato kugel.  It is almost like a potato bread because it is made with yeast.  When I was growing up, all of the bakeries and appetizing stores on the lower east side carried it.  And all of the shuls and shtebyls on East Broadway served it at kiddush, including the Young Israel of Manhattan and my family shtebyls, the Shinover Shtybel and the Mizrachi.  My favorite potato nik was from Gertel's Bakery on Essex St.  My grandparents always had it in their house for us.  We never at it hot.  You ate it room temperature or right out of the fridge.  It's great with herring.

I can't tell you where this food developed.  If it is actually a European food or an American invention.  Does it really make a difference?

Here's the recipe that I make today because, as hard as I've tried, I can't get the Gertel's recipe.  


Todd Brody


  


Bella Tseytlin
 

I was born in Odessa, Ukraine.

Just to confuse people further, we used to make potato latkes (картофельные оладушки, or as some people call them картофляники) from grated potatoes, salt and flour - that is all, only these 3 ingredients. No need to add eggs, the latkes hold its shape. That is how my late mother, who was born in Penza, Russia used to make them. I believe that she’s learned from her mother, who was born in Utena Lithuania. So here you’ve got a mixture of Lithuania, Russia & Ukraine traditions. 
Maybe this recipe was born out of poverty


--
Bella Tseytlin,

Melbourne, Australia


Rachel Steinhouse
 

I remember my mother making potatonik.  Unfortunately, I did not get the recipe for it so didn’t make it.  It wasn’t a big pan latke nor a kugel.  There are many recipes from Galicia that are different from the rest of Poland as they were on the sweet side rather than savoury.   I loved sugar on my latkes and only heard of applesauce or sour cream in Canada. I hope someone can point out the right direction to the recipe of the Potatonik.

Rachel Margel Steinhouse
MARGEL, Mostyska JAKIER, KOCH, Rudki, Lwow, Przemysl, Grodek Jagiellenski (Horodek)


Andrea Tzadik
 

My ancestors were from  a little Shtetl in then Galicia. They were not able to get matzos
where they lived. They always ate the version Todd  Brody gave instead of matzo.
Andrea Tzadik
Santa Monica, California


jbonline1111@...
 

I feel deprived, lol.  My mother made latkes and kugel but I never heard of potatonik until today.  My grandparents came from what is now Belarus.  Maybe it's because my grandmothers both died when my parents were young that they never mentioned it?

--
Barbara Sloan
Conway, SC


Jules Levin
 


On 8/27/21 9:18 AM, rebasolomon wrote:

Does anyone know a recipe for Potatonik?  I’ve tried the NY Times recipe online, and it’s not what I knew and loved.

Growing up, we never had potato kugel. My “Bubba” (not Bubbie, not Bobbie) always made Potatonik!  Her family was from Galicia, south of Przemysl and Western Ukraine (Ustrzyki Dolne, Posidov-Nowy Miasto, and Mostyska.) Potatonik used to be sold in the bakeries but now it has disappeared.

Is it possible that what people are calling potatonik is a potato knish?  That would explain why it was sold in the bakeries.  But the word potatonik is as I said unknown east of Ellis Island--Yinglish--which is Yiddish English, like the word "derma" for kishka, which was invented by Jews because it sounds less Jew-ish than kishke.  I believe the word was used in Saul Bellow's Augie March, written in the '40's when gentiles didn't know from Yiddish words.  Now I hear proper Anglo New Englanders throwing in Yiddish words in radio commentary.

Jules Levin, Los Angeles






Reba Harris Solomon


Moshe Berman
 

Ms. Levin,

Respectfully, I’m finding myself overreacting. 


Potatonik is not a Kugel, nor a Latke, Derma, Kishka, and certainly not a Knish. As a Lower East Sider, I am compelled to insist that Potatonik is a flavor unto itself, a culinary delight unlike any other.

It consists of a very thin, brittle, dark brown crust. Its inner texture is moist, when fresh. As it ages, it dries out until it’s nearly impossible to swallow. A slice of potatonik always has holes like a sponge. The flavor is that of a potato, seasoned with black pepper. 

It’s best to have the bakery slice it, unless you want a mess of crumbs. And if you eat it too quickly, it’s easy to cough on the very same crumbs, but it’s too good not to eat it quickly, always wanting more. The aftertaste lingers with that black pepper. It’s divine.

Based on the conversation here, I’m guessing that there’s probably no oil in the batter, probably water, potatoes, pepper and maybe a small amount of eggs. I wouldn’t be surprised if the sponginess was caused by yeast. 

You can still buy this unique item at Moisha’s Bakery at Grand and East Broadway, between the kosher butcher and the kosher grocery. 

Hope this clarifies things,
Moshe Berman,
Boca Raton, FL


ab12cohen@...
 

Jules Levin asked if potatonik was a potato knish. Different animal entirely Jules.

My Bubba (great-grandmother) and her daughter (my grandmother) from Poltava in eastern Ukraine, often made potato knish and it was delicious. Rather like a strudel, made with rolled up flour dough and filled with mashed potato, fried onions and lashings of chicken schmaltz and griven.

Unfortunately I don't have the recipe but I have found one in a wonderful Jewish cookery book published in 1957 by Sara Kasdan called Love and Kishkes. It's my favourite. Her dedication is 
"To the wonderful women who never cooked from a book ... if the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, then knishes will get there faster ... and stay there longer."

Alan Cohen


Moshe Berman
 

Wikipedia has this article that looks interesting. I haven’t read it yet. Apparently there are TWO foods that share that name.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potatonik


Moshe Berman,
Boca