Potato Dumplings (Halušky)
Ingredients: 750g potatoes (about 2 large ones), 2 cups flour, salt
Prep time: 25 minutes
Halušky are what really defines Slovak cuisine. The name is typically translated to English as potato dumplings, but this is not quite right. Halušky are just that, halušky (pronounced halushky). Potato dumplings, in Slovak, are zemiakové knedľe. Halušky are somewhat similar to German spätzle. You can top them with just about anything. Few years back, my dad had a restaurant near Banská Bystrica’s town square where he served mostly halušky. I don’t remember exactly how many varieties were on the menu, but it must have been at least 20! The most typical topping is bryndza, a special sheep cheese, and fried bacon bits. This combination gives you bryndzové halušky, the Slovak national dish. Another popular topping is cabbage. I also like them very much with a hard boiled egg. Often you will find these dumplings served with stews like goulash or paprikash.
Pour out as much water as you can without dumping out any of the potatoes. Add salt (soľ) and two cups of flour (múka). Mix well. I have good luck making them with just the regular all-purpose flour. You can experiment with different types if you would like to make the dumplings softer or harder.
Place the dough on a wooden board. Then using a knife, “toss” the halušky into boiling salted water. Smaller, the better. My grandma is really good at tossing the dumplings. She can go through a whole batch like this in a minute or two. It takes me closer to 10.
Update: March 24, 2010
Below you will find two videos showing my grandma making halušky. In the first, she uses the method outlined here. In the other one, she uses this nifty contraption called haluškár (halušky-maker). Note, she was making liver dumpligs (pečenové halušky) for soup, hence the pinkish color of the dough. But the process is exactly same as when making regular dough dumplings.