Crispy Potato Cakes

These delicious crispy potato cakes are known as Placki Ziemniaczane if you are from the south of Poland, Placki Kartoflane if you are from the north, and Latke if you’re Jewish! The word ‘blintz’ actually comes from the same Slavic root as ‘blini’ and is a softer pancake that sometimes contains fruit.

At the Borsch, Vodka & Tears restaurant, we serve them with sour cream and lemon, or with the addition of smoked salmon, but you can also serve them with a sprinkle of sugar. 

Time: 40 mins

Serves: 4


  • 500g potatoes, with the skin left on, coarsely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 45g potato flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • vegetable oil, for frying

Put all the ingredients, except the oil, into a food processor and process to make a batter –there should still be bits of potato and onion floating around. It’s quite a forgiving recipe, and a totally smooth batter is a bit much to expect. The batter at this stage is quite liquid. Alternatively, you can grate the onion and potato and combine with the remaining ingredients in a bowl.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a cast-iron frying pan or flat griddle plate over a medium–low heat. You really do need cast iron, as no other surface seems to work – if you don’t have a pan, try using the grill plate of your barbecue. Just make sure it’s clean first.

Spoon 1/4 cup of the batter into the pan at a time, spreading it out to form a little round pancake. Cook for five minutes, or until they are set on the top, then turn over and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from the pan and set aside. Repeat with more oil and the remaining batter to make about 12 blintzes.

Once you have cooked the blintzes the first time, heat two tablespoons of oil in the same pan over medium–high heat. Return the blintzes to the pan, working in batches, and cook until golden brown and crisp on both sides. Serve immediately with your chosen accompaniments.

Recipe taken from Borsch, Vodka and Tears by Benny Roff
Borsch, Vodka and Tears – a tucked-away Polish-style vodka bar and restaurant in Melbourne’s south – has earned a dedicated following since it opened in 2000. This book is a celebration of the food and passion behind this Melbourne institution. The book is split into three chapters: ‘Tears’, which is the story of how the restaurant came about; ‘Vodka’, which is a definitive guide to Polish vodkas, vodka tasting notes and how to match food with vodka, as well as recipes for the restaurant’s most popular cocktails; and ‘Borsch’, which features warming Polish classics, such as cabbage rolls, blintzes, peirogi and borsch, as well as modern dishes, desserts and sharing plates. Edgy photography by Bonnie Savage, a comprehensive guide to vodka, and delicious, popular recipes make Borsch, Vodka and Tears an instant classic for fans beyond the restaurant itself.

You can purchase Borsch, Vodka and Tears at

Published by Hardie Grant Books.

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