Can anything really beat traditional Irish boxty pancakes with their golden crust and soft interior? A Saturday morning staple in my house. Crispy and soft, all at the same time, with a dollop of butter slowly melting on top.
There’s an old Irish saying,
“Boxty on the griddle, boxty in the pan, if you can’t make boxty, you’ll never get your man!”
Now, fair enough, it’s a quite outdated sentence but still it’s a great reminder of how important boxty is in Irish cuisine. Boxty is a traditional potato pancake from Ireland. In Irish it is called bacstaí or arán bocht tí meaning “poor house bread”. They are extremely popular in Ireland, where they can take many forms, from fried pancakes to baked wedges of bread.
The traditional boxty recipe varies from region to region, but they all have grated potato in common. When my mum makes it, she uses just grated raw potato, flour, baking soda and buttermilk. Some people use leftover mashed potato as well to give it a softer inside. This gives boxty a unique texture, somewhere between a pancake and a hash brown.
Although boxty is great to share with your family, sometimes I like to sneak a plate for myself with some melted butter on top. It’s a great comfort food for a cold night in.
Everyone knows that potatoes mean a lot to Irish people. We love them, whether boiled, mashed, fried or roasted. Hugely popular dishes such as beef and Guinness stew or cabbage and bacon wouldn’t be the same without the humble potato. We’re so grateful they arrived from South America back in the day!
What to Serve with Irish Boxty
- Boxty is great served on its own with a spoonful of butter melting on top.
- If you want to jazz it up a little, you could serve it with crème fraiche and smoked salmon like a blini. Or make it a main dish with steak and fried mushrooms.
- However, the most common way to eat boxty in Ireland would be with an Irish fry containing sausages, rashers, pudding and eggs. Don’t forget the tea though, it’s very important.
Tips for Great Traditional Irish Boxty Pancakes
- You have to squeeze as much water as possible out of the grated potato. The less water, the crispier the boxty will be.
- Use a strainer, clean tea towel or a muslin cloth to get the water out of the potato.
- If you can’t find buttermilk, just put some lemon juice into your milk and leave aside until it sours.
- Always cook with butter. It will give a great taste.
- A moderate heat will allow time to build a golden crust and a soft interior; a high heat will lead to a burnt outside and raw middle. Taking things slowly will also give you the chance to organize the sides, whether that’s bacon, sausage, fried eggs or just a generous amount of salty butter.
Realistically there should be no leftovers. But if there happens to be some, you can store them in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer tightly wrapped for up to 2 months.
Traditional Irish Boxty Pancakes
- Box Grater
- 300 g Mashed Potato (Roosters) leftover mash
- 300 g Raw Potato (Roosters) peeled, grated
- 70 g Plain Flour
- 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 200 ml Buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon Sea Salt
- 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 4 tablespoons Butter to fry
- Grate the raw potato into a clean tea towel, muslin cloth or paper towels, then wring out as much liquid as possible into a bowl. Dry them as much as possible.
- Mix the mashed potato, raw grated potato, flour and baking soda into a large bowl and combine well.
- Start adding in the milk a little at a time until you have a wet, dropping consistency.
- Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper.
- Heat a frying pan over a medium heat with 1 tablespoon of butter.
- Add a large spoonful of the mixture on to the pan and push into a flat circle. Whatever size you want. Fry for 3-4 minutes on each side until it has a golden crust .
- Repeat until all the mixture is used. Remove from the pan and place them on a plate with kitchen paper. Leave them in a low temperature oven to keep warm.
- Serve on their own with a dollop of butter or with an Irish breakfast of sausages, bacon and eggs. Enjoy!