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Kugelis - the traditional recipe


We've been looking at various posts around on the traditional recipe for Lithuanian potato pudding, known as kugelis or bulviu plokštainis (literally "flat potato"). And let us share the steps of Jurate Krokys Stirbys from Philadelphia region.

Kugelis By Krokys 

  • 5 lbs. Pennsylvania Butter Potatoes (Yukon Gold will do)
  • 2 cups scalded milk (scalding the milk helps to distribute the potato starch)
  • 3 brown eggs (I like to use cage-free I think it adds color and flavor and I feel less guilty)
  • 1 medium Vidalia onion, finely grated
  • 1 lb. bacon, finely chopped and fried, do not drain fat
  • 1 cup minced ham
  • Salt to taste
  • Butter for the casserole dish
  • Cheesecloth to squeeze out excess moisture from the potatoes

Although I believe that the grated onion quickly applied to the grated potatoes helps to keep the potatoes white, it is important to prepare all of your ingredients in advance and to work quickly so that the potato batter does not darken.

1. Butter the 10” x 16” (thereabouts) casserole dish (I like to use a glass dish) and set aside.

2. Set up your potato grater. I am lucky, I have the electric kind, otherwise, find a couple of people to help you grate, speed is of the essence.

3. Peel your potatoes and submerge them in cold water. Peel your onion, set aside.

4. Measure out the milk into a heavy bottomed saucepan and turn on very low. You will know the milk is scalded when tiny bubbles begin to form along the edges. You can keep an eye on the milk while you are doing other preparation, just don’t forget. Turn off the milk once the bubbles appear. By the way, I used 4% milk.

5. Whisk the eggs and set aside.

6. After you have crisped the bacon, add the ham and mix, and turn off the heat.

7. Set up your cheesecloth so that it sits over a colander which sits over a bowl. You will also need another large bowl in which you will put the squeezed potato mass and into which you will add the other ingredients.

8. Drain the water off of the potatoes. Grate the potatoes. If by hand it must be through the small openings, the potatoes must come out like a fine batter. I suggest that you alternate grating potatoes with grating the raw onion. Same if you are doing it through the electronic grater.

9. Take about ¾ cup of this potato-onion mass and place on the cheesecloth which you then use to squeeze out the excess liquid by hand. I actually squeezed out a lot of the liquid; not all of it but enough to be able to peel off the wet potato-onion mass and place it in the larger bowl. Work quickly.

10. Once you are done with squeezing off the liquid, take the scalded milk and pour over the potatoes and mix with a wooden spoon.

11. Add the whisked eggs, mix.

12. Add the bacon-ham mixture, mix.

13. Add one teaspoon salt, mix.

14. Pour into the buttered casserole dish, and say a prayer as you put it into a preheated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven, the middle of the oven.

15. Plan for 1hr and 30 minutes of baking. If after 1hr. 15min. it looks browned on the top, check with a toothpick in the center. The toothpick should come out completely dry. If not, give it another 10-15 minutes.

We eat Kugelis with sour cream, lots of it. I found that Russet potatoes worked OK but the color was bland. Also, if you don’t have ham that’s ok, but I thought it gave it nice texture. I tried one version with frying the Vidalia onions but I really liked the taste raw onions gave to the kugelis. Good luck!

In the end of the day there are plenty of ways to cook it and probably every person finds out the own way of preparing it.


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