Dzyndzałki with groats, plińce with pomoćka, or maybe fried smelt – where to start when discovering the Masurian cuisine? The dishes in the region combine the flavors of Old Polish cuisine, German cuisine and the cuisine of the former Polish-Ukrainian-Belarusian borderland, where many post-war displaced persons come from. It is delicious, natural and simple, on top of being full of flavor.
A tiny fish that is difficult to taste elsewhere. Its fishing is carried out only in winter, when the Masurian lakes are covered with ice. Smelts inhabit some bodies of water in the region, as they prefer cold waters with a high degree of oxygenation. The meat of the smelt has a peculiar smell, quite different from the typical smell of fish, because it smells… of fresh cucumber.
When fried, these fish are mild in flavor and their bones are completely soft.
Dzyndzałki with groats and pork crackling
Dzyndzałki is a type of dumpling characteristic of the Warmia region, which neighbors Masuria to the west. Where their name came from is a matter of dispute. This most popular theory is that from the tassels or “ears” on the edges of the dumplings. The inside is filled with buckwheat stuffing, and the cracklings are fried pieces of bacon or pork fat. But do not let this simple explanation fool you, because these are no ordinary dumplings. Their whole secret is inside them.
The boiled buckwheat stuffing is enriched with sliced hard-boiled egg, smoked bacon and onion, while the cracklings contain additional garlic and marjoram. It is a regional rarity that has made a big career in northern Poland.
Plińce with pomoćka
What is behind the name? Potato pancakes with a fluffy paste made from cottage cheese and cream. This is a great alternative to potato pancakes with traditional toppings.
The rather poor Masurian soils have never given much room for improvement, and potatoes remain the main ingredient in the local cuisine. However, local people were able to conjure up elaborate dinners and sweet desserts from them. And plińce with pomoćka is a glimpse of the mastery of potato preparation!
Soft, crunchy, delicious potato pancakes accompanied by cream and cottage cheese are a must-try culinary item to tick off during culinary travels in this part of Poland.