My mother used to make two kinds of potato pancakes: one from raw grated potatoes and another that used leftover mashed potatoes combined with flour, which were known as “stove rags” in the coal region of Pennsylvania where I grew up. They got their name because they were cooked directly on the coal stove, which is how my grandmother made them.
Although “stove rags” may be the most colorful name for potato pancakes I’ve ever heard, it’s certainly not the only one. In Eastern Europe, potato pancakes are known as latkes or latkas. In Sweden, they’re called raggmunk or rarakor. Potato pancakes are also found in many other countries including Korea, India, Russia, and Ireland. Naturally, every culture has a unique spin that makes them their own.
At my house, we usually enjoy them served with applesauce, although I sometimes put out small bowls of vegan sour cream, chutney, chow-chow, and even cranberry sauce. I’ve even served them doused with sriracha sauce, which takes them to an entirely new level. My current favorite condiment for them is sour cream with some sriracha blended into it (as seen in the center of the condiment tray in the photo, flanked by chutney and applesauce).
I wonder what my grandmother would think of stove rags with sriracha.
Book Giveaway: For a chance to win a copy of 1,000 Vegan Recipes, head on over to Cafe VegNews where the VN staff is cooking up a recipe from the book every day this week — and also giving away a copy of the book each day. That’s five chances to win!