Lithuania: Sweet and White Potato Pancakes with Mushroom Sauce

Posted by on Sep 17, 2014 in Recipes | 4 comments

From Poland we move north today to Lithuania as our VeganMoFo world tour continues. 

Lithuania is one of those places where you really get to experience the difference between dark and light.  I first travelled to the country one June many years ago and the light at night to me was striking.  I remember walking back to my hotel with friends some time after midnight and while the sun had dipped down, it was still twilight. The sky was a gorgeous shade of blue, I could see clearly and it was beautiful.

The city, in the middle of the night

The city, in the middle of the night

Cathedral Square

Cathedral Square

The last time I went to Lithuania it was in the middle of winter, frigidly cold with packed snow on the ground and icebergs floating down the river.  This time I barely saw the sun and even when it was up it felt dark. When we walked to a traditional Lithuanian restaurant one evening, by the time we got there I could not feel my hands or my feet. It was pitch black outside. 

Ladies gracing the Lithuanian National Drama Theater

Ladies gracing the Lithuanian National Drama Theater

The Egg

The Egg

Street Art

Street Art

Lithuania is also one of the first countries I traveled to where I felt perpetually hungry (and was woefully unprepared). Finding vegan food the first time was incredibly difficult. I subsisted mostly on potatoes, salads (but even finding a salad not laden in mayo was hard), and bread.  One evening when we stumbled across a vegetarian café in the city’s old town, I remember feeling overwhelmed with joy at finding a real meal. I think I scoffed down that curry like I hadn’t eaten in weeks.  It was divine! Last time, I went prepared, but also things had changed dramatically.  I had no trouble eating and eating well. Even if there was nothing vegan on the menu, wait staff knew what I meant when I said vegan and kitchens were more than prepared to make me something I could eat.

A typical street in the Old Town

A typical street in the Old Town

A church

A church

Vilnius is a lovely city that has the feel of a small town, although it had changed a lot between my visits.  Its old town is one of the most stunning I have had the joy of rambling through. Churches are literally everywhere. I felt like I couldn’t turn a corner without seeing crosses. 

Another church

Another church

And yet another...

And yet another…

The colorful buildings, replete with deep basements, and sweet courtyards, are just lovely. And in the old town there are really wonderful little boutiques and shops, many of them selling Lithuania’s two prized commodities: linen and amber.

The gate to a church...

The gate to a church…

Sweet!

Sweet!

So today, in memory of my first visit to that country, I am sharing a somewhat non-traditional recipe for potato pancakes, a staple, but not vegan, Lithuanian dish.  I used half sweet potatoes and half white potatoes and the result is delicious.

Sweet & White Potato Pancakes with Mushroom Sauce

Sweet & White Potato Pancakes with Mushroom Sauce

I have been roaring through my supply of the Vegg egg replacer this week and it’s perfect for this dish. You can buy it on Amazon or at any number of vegan online stores.  However, if you can’t get that, I suggest you substitute a light binding egg replacer, like ener-g or arrowroot powder, and add a teaspoon of nutritional yeast and a ¼ tsp of black salt. You really don’t want anything too heavy here. 

Mmmm...

Mmmm…

Sweet and White Potato Pancakes
Yields 7
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup grated sweet potatoes
  2. 1 cup grated potatoes
  3. ½ medium onion, diced
  4. 2 tsp the vegg powder + 6 tbsps of water (or other light, binding egg replacer, equivalent to 2 eggs)
  5. 2 tbsps all purpose gluten free flour
  6. ½ tsp salt, or more or less to taste
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl
  2. Heat a pan on medium-high with some grapeseed oil, or earth balance.
  3. When hot, scoop some of the batter onto the pan and flatten with a spatula and turn down the heat to medium-low.
  4. Cook for about 4-5 minutes until golden brown.
  5. Carefully flip and cook the other side.
  6. Repeat until all batter has been used.
Vegan Sweet and Simple http://vegansweetandsimple.com/
Of course, I couldn’t make potato pancakes without mushroom sauce. I use a combination of oyster mushrooms, which are commonly used throughout the region, and crimini mushrooms to give it a bit of complexity. 

Mushroom Sauce

Mushroom Sauce

Mushroom Sauce
Serves 2
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Ingredients
  1. 1 tbsp earth balance or oil
  2. 1 medium onion, diced
  3. 4 oz container of oyster mushrooms, sliced
  4. 4-5 crimini mushrooms, sliced
  5. ½ cup vegetable broth
  6. ½ tsp arrowroot powder
  7. Salt and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Add earth balance to a saucepan and heat on medium until melted.
  2. Add the onion and sauté for 4-5 minutes until soft and just starting to caramelize.
  3. Add the mushrooms and cook for another 8-10 minutes until the mushrooms have released their juices and are beginning to brown.
  4. Mix together the vegetable broth and arrowroot powder and pour into the pan.
  5. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a spatula to deglaze.
  6. Bring the sauce to a boil and then turn off the heat.
Vegan Sweet and Simple http://vegansweetandsimple.com/
You’ll want to serve this with some vegan sour cream; my recipe is here.   

Wishing I had a serving of these right now...

Wishing I had a serving of these right now…

My partner is not a big fan of mushrooms (I just don’t get it!). So I served them to him the way many do in Lithuania: with sour cream and apple sauce. 

With apple sauce

With apple sauce

This is a really great weekend brunch. Or any day breakfast or lunch for that matter! 

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4 Comments

  1. Those look amazing and I’d totally have them your way with apple sauce and sour cream – I like mushrooms but that sounds way better. I still haven’t made it to Lithuania, soon hopefully!

    • Thanks! The pancakes are really yummy! And so are the mushrooms. I’m allergic to apples, unfortunately… Would love to have tried the apple sauce; my partner said they were awesome!

  2. LOVE the travel connection with the recipes! The pics are AMAZING! Thought I would stop by for Vegan Mofo! Neat place you have here! I have a couple of vegan contests on my blog this week if you want to swing by
    http://myblissfuljourney.com

    • Thanks so much! Will definitely check it out!

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