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Boxty A Traditional Irish Potato Dish

Boxty is a traditional Irish potato pancake dish. The dish is mostly associated with the North West and Midlands of Ireland, in particular the counties of Sligo, Mayo, Leitrim, Cavan and Tipperary.

There are many different local recipes but all contain finely grated, raw potatoes and all are served fried. The most popular version of the dish consists of finely grated, raw potato and mashed potato with flour, baking soda, buttermilk and sometimes egg. The mixture is fried on a pan for a few minutes on each side, similar to a normal pancake. The most noticeable difference between boxty and other fried potato dishes is its smooth, fine grained consistency and it is a great method for using up potatoes left over from the previous meal.

Since interest in old Irish cuisine has risen considerably over the last number of years, so too has the popularity of Boxty. Some modern recipes, in their efforts to conceal Boxty’s humble Irish origins, use garlic and other spices as ingredients. These additions help to pass this dish off as being more eastern European in origin, however in the past Boxty was seen as a huge part of local Irish culture in Tipperary and indeed the following rhyme was penned as a result.

“Boxty on the griddle, Boxty in your pan, if you can’t make good Boxty, Sure you’ll never get a man.”

The failure to make good Boxty is no doubt the reason for so many good looking Tipperary females being still unattached.

Potato-BoxtyRecipe and Ingredients for Boxty:

  • Four medium floury potatoes, peeled (about 650g/1lb7oz).
  • Plain flour 100g/4oz.
  • One carton buttermilk – 284ml or 9½fl oz.
  • Salt to taste.
  • One level tea spoon of baking soda.
  • Large knob of pure butter, for frying.

Method

  1. Boil the peeled potatoes for 15-20 minutes, and then mash half of them.
  2. Grate the rest and put in a colander lined with kitchen paper.
  3. Put kitchen paper on top and press to squeeze out as much liquid and starch as possible.
  4. Mix the grated potato with the mash, then sift in the flour, baking soda and salt to taste. (One small very finely grated onion can also be added to the mixture depending on choice.)
  5. Stir in buttermilk to make a soft batter.
  6. Heat the butter on a griddle or heavy based metal frying pan.
  7. Drop in spoonfuls of the batter, large or small, and cook for 2 minutes until golden underneath.
  8. Flip and cook for 2 minutes more.
  9. Try it out, it is delicious.
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