Sunday, September 1, 2013

Stuffed Potato Dumplings - PYZY # Vegan MoFo

I am very excited to take part in the Vegan Month of Food - Vegan MoFo - by blogging about recipe creations the entire month of September. I decided on a theme of My month in Polish food. This theme will allow me to honor my Polish heritage as well as to illustrate how affordable vegan food can be. To make most of these recipes, you will need to stock up your kitchen with lots of potatoes...I am not kidding!

There is a Polish cartoon I used to watch as a child about a girl called Pyza (potato dumpling), and I recently thought of it as I was deciding on what recipes to feature. There she is on the left, having all sorts of adventures, kind of like me, with this recipe.

Stuffed potato dumplings (pyzy) are usually filled with non-vegan ingredients, so I was never able to order them in Polish restaurants. Recently, my mom gave me this recipe. I made some adjustments to it. It took me three tries to get it right. Cheers!

Stuffed Potato Dumplings (PYZY).
Ingredients (Makes about 12 medium sized dumplings)
5 large russet potatoes, peeled and divided
6-7 tablespoons potato flour (not potato starch), plus additional for dusting work surface

1 tablespoon olive oil or non-stick cooking spray
1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
1 (10-oz package) mushrooms of choice, finely chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Step 1
Add 3 potatoes (quarter the potatoes to speed up cooking process) to a medium sized pot with enough water to cover and bring it to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon of sea salt, lower the heat to medium, partially cover the pot and cook for about 15 minutes until the potatoes are fork tender, but not mushy. Drain well. Mash the heck out of the potatoes with a potato masher and then mash them some more. Use a fork after that too to make sure no lumps remain. Potato ricer is a helpful tool in this instance, but since I did not have one, I mashed the potatoes manually. Taste for salt and set aside to cool off.

Mashed potatoes. After this picture was taken, the potatoes experienced some more mashing by my hand and were reluctunt to participate in further photo opportunities. 
Step 2
While the three potatoes are cooking, grate the remaining 2 potatoes. Do not shred the potatoes! They need to be finely grated. Use a food processor or a grater like this one.

I bought this grater in Poland with mom. 
While grating the potatoes manually (I did!), think about all the muscles you are going to develop once you are done. Woo hoo!

Now that the potatoes are grated. place them to drain in a mesh drainer over a bowl, for about 20 minutes. Like this.

Potato alert! The potatoes will darken and the liquid will look uncanny...and that is just fine with me.
Do not discard the liquid from the potatoes. You will need the starch that forms on the bottom.

Starch remaining at the bottom of the bowl.
Step 3 
While the cooked potatoes are cooling off and the grated potatoes are draining, prepare the filling. Sauté the onion in olive oil (or use non-stick cooking spray) in a non-stick, medium sized skillet for about 5 minutes. Add the chopped mushrooms, season with salt and pepper. Continue sautéing for 10 more minutes or longer depending on preference. Add a splash of water if necessary to prevent from sticking. Remove from heat and taste for seasoning.

Mushroom and onion filling.
Step 4 (Almost there)
Bring a large pot of water to boil, for the dumplings. Be sure to add 1 teaspoon of sea salt to the pot once it starts boiling. Prepare the dough.

To make the dough, add the mashed potatoes to a large bowl. Add the strained, grated potatoes. Be sure to give them an extra squeeze to get rid of excess water, but don't go overboard about it. Now, carefully strain the potato liquid, while keeping the potato starch, that has formed on the bottom of the bowl. It is ok to have some of the potato liquid remain with the starch. The starch will feel chalky to the touch. Scrape the starch with your hands and add it to the dough mixture. Mix in 6 tablespoons of potato flour and knead well. The dough should be a little sticky, and not too dry. You may add more flour as needed.

This is what the dough should look like. 
To shape the dumplings, place the dough on a floured surface, and leave a tablespoon or two of flour on the side of the work surface in case you need it, specifically when the dough is sticking to your hands. Break off a piece of the dough and form a flat pancake in the palm of your hand. Place up to one tablespoon of the filling and bring the edges to each side, then shape to a ball. Like this.

Place about 4-5 dumplings at a time to the boiling pot of water, lower the heat to medium-high and boil the dumplings for about 5-6 minutes, until they float to the top. Bigger dumplings, stuffed with heavy filling, will not float to the top as readily as these. So watch out for that if you choose to make them bigger or use another filling.

Step 5 (Hooray!)
The dumplings are best when pan-fried over a medium heat, until crispy . You can slice each into slices  and pan-fry them until crispy or pan-fry them whole. Serve them with mushroom gravy, caramelized onions or sautéed mushrooms. I like to eat them dipped in soy sauce. Don't judge me.

Stuffed Potato Dumpling (PYZY) sliced and pan-fried.
This recipe is versatile. Use fillings (example: cooked red lentils) and spices of choice. I decided to make it simple and use minimal ingredients in this instance. Since the recipe has simple ingredients, be sure that the filling and the potatoes are seasoned to your liking. Taste as you go and get creative.


  1. I love this theme! Those dumplings look so delicious.

  2. Ohhhh these dumpling looks great, and I've missed dumplings since I went glutenfree!

    1. Potato flour is great in dumpling or potato pancakes recipes. Who says you can't have your dumplings when gluten-free? Cheers Lindsay!

  3. Ahhh, how did it take me so long to stumble upon your blog? I love your theme of Polish foods, as well as the cute cat stories and photos! I definitely want to try these pyzy sometime, as well as the potato pancakes and zapiekanka. :)

  4. You are too kind Julie. Thank you. There are a lot of cat stories still to be discussed :)