Stove Rags and Book Giveaway

Nothing says comfort food like potato pancakes. After all, they’re made from potatoes, they’re pancakes, and they’re fried!

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!

7 responses to “Stove Rags and Book Giveaway”

  1. VeganView says :

    OH MY LAWD! Those look so delicious!

  2. daintyvegan says :

    Those look AND sound delicious! I've actually never tried them or heard of them until now. 😮

  3. blessedmama says :

    I have a simple recipe, too. But, I think mine need more of “something” added. Thanks for showing yours. I'm checking into the contest. 🙂

  4. Jeanine M. says :

    I love this post! In my family (I'm from the coal region of PA too), we still make stove rags. The Slovak name for them is Loksa. Whenever we have leftover mashed potatoes, we just add flour and roll them out. Or, if we are craving them, we boil some potatoes, mash 'em and turn them into Loksa. I have a special round griddle that we use which makes perfect stove rags!

  5. Jenn says :

    Mmm. Potato pancakes are heaven. Sour cream and sriracha sounds like the perfect dipping sauce.

  6. Anonymous says :

    What are you frying the stove rags in? And is there an on-line recipe you can point to?

    I can't imagine them without butter, but since it's Orthodox Lent right now, a vegan version sounds absolutely perfect to me – I just need some help on how to fry them up and keep the taste.


  7. Robin at Vegan Planet says :

    Hi Anonymous,
    I usually fry my stove rags/latkes/potato pancakes in either a neutral vegetable oil or olive oil. If you're looking for a “buttery” flavor, I'd go with melting some Earth Balance (buttery spread) combined with a little oil.
    As for a recipe, I usually make regular stove rags using a recipe similar to my 3/15 post for colcannon fritters, except I omit the kale and use some grated onion instead of the scallion.

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