How to prepare Ukrainian Derunys

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

So you have been watching the news lately, saw every bit of that Ukrainian crisis and started wondering how the Ukrainian Cuisine tasted like? Well here it is, today I'm going to show you how to prepare Ukrainian derunys, genuine Ukrainian Derunys and I am going to show you just how easy (and cheap) it is to make them.

How to prepare Ukrainian Derunys
A plate of freshly prepared Ukrainian Derunys

Deruny(s), in Ukrainian (called Dranyky in Russian), are delicious fried shred-potato doughnuts that are extremely easy to prepare. They are eaten daily throughout the whole Ukrainian territory, and not only. Somehow, they are like Hash browns, the main difference being that, once the potatoes are shred, you do not need to drain their water. They are extremely similar to the Czech Bramboraky, the word bramborak itself meaning potato in Czech language.

Derunys taste delicious and not only they can be had as part of a breakfast or brunch (just like pancakes with eggs etc.), they can also be served either as a starter or main course meal, with mushroom sauce on it, or with a salad on the side.

Well, no more waiting, let's jump right into this awesome recipe!

The ingredients you will need :

- 4 small/medium potatoes
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
- a fair pinch of salt
- 3 tbsp of oil
- a tiny pinch of bicarbonate (1/10 teaspoon)

Optional : a hearty tablespoon of smetana (sour cream or 'creme fraiche')

How to prepare derunys:

- Start by peeling the potatoes and shred them using the thinest side of your shredder. (You may also shred them using the medium side, this will feel easier for the hand, but the result will be different and it also will take longer to cook)

How to prepare Ukrainian Derunys
Freshly shredded potatoes

- Once the potatoes are shredded, do not wait, add the salt. This is what will make water from the potato shreds come out. Now, break the egg and add it.

How to prepare Ukrainian Derunys
Potato shreds with salt and egg waiting to be stirred

- Stir for less than a minute using a table spoon, but your dough should look homogenous enough already.

How to prepare Ukrainian Derunys
Deruny dough before adding the flour

- Add the flour to solidify the mixture and stir for a few seconds again. Now you want to be careful not to add too much flour, not to little either. As you add too much, your derunys will end up tasting like hockey pucks, and if you add to little, they will become too sloppy too. One fair tablespoon for 4 small/medium potatoes is probably a good rule to stick by in this case.  In any case, the resulting mixture should look thicker than crepe dough.

- Put a pan/skillet on the stove, medium/high heat, with 3 hearty tablespoon of oil in it.

- Add the bicarbonate to the mixture. Be careful adding only a 'tiny' pinch of it. Using the tip of a knife to pick it up from its package is probably the best way to go here. You may pour the bicarbonate into a tablespoon first and add a little water to to dilute it if you wish. This can especially come in handy if you had poured too much flour in the first place. Stir again for a few seconds. At this point, your mixture looks very smooth.

How to prepare Ukrainian Derunys
Deruny dough after adding the flour and bicarbonate and stirring

- As the oil in your pan has become quite/very hot, pick a whole tablespoon of your mixture and pour it into the pan. Do not worry about having to shape the derunys while they cook because they will do that on their own, naturally. Repeat this step until your pan is full. Make sure also, as the derunys start cooking, that they don't stand too close one from another. Once they have been cooking for some time, they will be able to touch without sticking, but not at the beginning though.

 - You can leave the heat quite strong while laying down the mixture into the pan, but once that is done, to avoid burning your derunys, reduce the heat by half at least. Wait a minute or two, and once each of the derunys has its bottom brown/golden (though not burned), flip them all using a fork. Start with those who were laid first.

How to prepare Ukrainian Derunys
Derunys starting to fry

- Once all the derunys have all been flipped, make sure the heat is kept gentle enough, and slowly cook for 3-4 minutes, again, not trying to burn them, but it also has to cook well on the inside. We don't want to end up eating raw potato doughnuts, do we?

How to prepare Ukrainian Derunys
Derunys as they just got flipped, ready to cook longer on lower heat

- If you end up having more mixture in your hands than the pan can contain, you then have two choices:  either you don't have that much mixture left and you sort of manage to add more onto those frying already (that is if you haven't flipped sides already), or, you make another round, clearing the pan first and adding some oil again, etc.

- Once ready, lay out the derunys on a clean plate, put a cover on top only if you wish them to become more tender/sloppy/mellow, and ultimately if you wish to retain their heat too.

How to prepare Ukrainian Derunys

How to prepare Ukrainian Derunys

How to prepare Ukrainian Derunys

Cultural note: In Ukraine, derunys are originally a traditional dish and they tend to be served with some fresh Smetana on the side, usually a whole tablespoon of it. They can also be served with mushroom sauce on top. As part of a traditional event, they are usually part of a larger table containing various traditional dishes.

This is the perfect example of recipe that's amazingly easy to master and you will soon be able to prepare derunys in the morning faster than you would prepare scrambled eggs.  

Smachnoho! (pronounced SMACH-noho : Ukrainian for bon app├ętit)

Stay tuned for more on!

This article first appeared on Wednesday the 6th of August 2014 on


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