Draniki by Chef David Nayfeld

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David Nayfeld, from San Francisco’s Che Fico and Theorita, shares his beloved family recipe for Draniki. These blini-like potato pancakes or latkes from his family’s native Belarus are made by grinding potatoes and onions together, mixing with flour, salt, peppers and eggs and then fried and stuffed with seasoned ground chicken.

Not just for Hannukah, for certainly to be enjoyed anytime of the year, Draniki is one of the first dishes Chef David is reminded of from his upbringing in Alameda, California. You can read more about David’s incredible family story here and watch the video to see more of David and this dish.

Serving Size: Makes 8-10


4 Yukon potatoes, peeled

1 small yellow onion

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

½ lb. ground chicken

1 clove garlic, minced

1 ½ Tbsp. chopped parsley

5 eggs

½-¾ cup all purpose flour

Sunflower oil, as needed


Russian Sour Cream, for serving

Applesauce or preserves, for serving

Sliced chives, for serving


Cut the potatoes and onion into chunks and place through the smallest holes of a meat grinder.

Season well with salt and pepper. Add 4 lightly beaten eggs and 1/2 cup of flour and mix gently until homogenized.

If the mixture appears to have to much liquid, drain slightly to get a mixture that resembles a lumpy, thick batter. As the mixture sits, the salt may extract more liquid from the potatoes so add more flour as needed to keep that thick, lumpy texture.

Combine the chicken, garlic, parsley and egg in a bowl. Season well with salt and pepper and mix well.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a nonstick pan, add enough oil to generously cover the bottom of the pan for a shallow fry. Heat over medium high heat until the oil is hot and appears thinner.

Add 1/8 cup potato mixture. Turn the heat down slightly if needed to prevent burning. Gently bring any run-away bits of potato back to the pancake with your spoon or spatula.

Make a small divet or nest in the center of the pancake, making sure not to break through the batter. Add a spoonful of chicken and press down gently with your fingers. Add some additional batter over the chicken just to coat.

When the pancake is fluffy and dark golden brown, gently flip over and cook the second side until golden, gathering up the bits as you did on the first side.

Transfer to a parchment lined sheet tray and continue cooking until you’ve used up the batter. You can use up any additional batter or chicken to fry up littlekatleti orchicken patties or vegetarian potato pancakes.

Bake the pancakes for 8-10 minutes and transfer to a paper towel lined sheet tray to blot.

Serve with apple sauce or preserves, sour cream and chives.