If you want to find something budget-friendly and easy to make, look no further. Kluski śląskie are here to save your day. Also, they are delicious, filling, and perfect as transportation for any sauce or topping.
Names and origins
Kluski śląskie (Silesian dumplings) are soft, round-ish potato dumplings with no filling. Some people also call them gumiklyjzy (in Silesian) or białe kluski (white dumplings). As the name suggests, they are from Silesia, a historical southwest region of Poland that also encompasses small parts of the neighboring countries: Germany and the Czech Republic.
Despite being a part of regional cuisine, their popularity is so widespread that they are available in the frozen foods section in almost every supermarket across Poland.
However, you can prepare them yourself since they are very affordable and easy to make! They are different from pierogi. The dough for Silesian dumplings consists only of three ingredients (at most!): potato flour, sometimes an egg, and potatoes that are first boiled and then mashed up. It’s important to add the potatoes while they are still warm so the dough forms nicely. The ratio of potatoes to flour is usually 3:1 or 4:1.
An Egg-Squisite Controversy
Some housewives and even some famous professional chefs perceive adding eggs to the dough as a sort of profanity because the original recipe mentions only flour and potatoes. Despite this fact, many modern recipes do feature eggs because they make the whole process even easier. How? As a binding agent, eggs keep the dough from becoming runny, especially in cases when it is kneaded for too long or the potatoes were too cold.
Two methods of forming Silesian dumplings
In general, the dumplings are formed using either of those methods:
- straight from the bowl – take a small part of dough at a time and form it into a ball between your palms. It is a faster, but not always better method since the dumplings may come out uneven.
- from a roll of dough – you first form a roll of dough and then cut it with a knife into even parts. Next, you roll them into balls. In contrast to the former one, this method ensures the creation of more uniform in size Silesian dumplings.
In both cases, after a ball is created, you have to flatten it a bit and create a small dent in the center (not a hole!). This is what makes them stand out from any other potato dumplings you may encounter in Central and Eastern European countries. Such a shape has a few advantages: not only does it help cook the dumplings faster, but also retains some of the sauce or a topping inside them.
Speaking of toppings, the options are limitless. The most popular ones include onions, gravy, mushroom sauce, meat drippings, and sauteed bacon. You can even combine them if you wish. During Lent, Silesian dumplings are doused in butter with toasted breadcrumbs. On a typical Silesian dinner, they are served as a side with gravy, beef roulade, and cooked red cabbage.
The Dumpling Gate
Similarly to nearly every more famous Polish dish, Silesian dumplings have their own origin story: the tale of Brama Kluskowa (the Dumpling Gate). As it is with legends, nobody knows for sure how true it is. Nevertheless, the tale is quite interesting, and it goes like this:
In a village located near Wrocław (one of the biggest cities in Poland), once lived a peasant named Konrad with his wife, Agnieszka. She was famously talented in making Silesian dumplings. In fact, there was no other person in Poland who was as skilled at it as her. Unfortunately, she died of the plague. Starving and mourning Konrad went to Wrocław and fell asleep near St. Idzi’s Church. In his dream, he saw his wife who was worried about him. She promised him a magic cauldron that would fill with fresh dumplings every night. Nevertheless, there was one condition. For the magic to work, her husband had to promise that he would restrain himself and always leave one dumpling in the pot. And of course, he did promise her that.
After waking up, Konrad saw before him a cauldron full of Silesian dumplings – the dream came true! Almost starved to death, he wanted to eat all of them. However, the last one started moving around the cauldron to avoid Konrad’s fork (where did he get the fork from, I do not know). Finally, it jumped out of the dish, run away to the top of the arcade, and turned into stone. Because of the broken promise, the magic properties of the cauldron were gone forever. Both the Dumpling Gate and the rock that supposedly once was a Silesian dumpling do exist. You can see them in Wrocław, near St. Idzi’s Church.
The easy recipe posted below will allow you to avoid such a pitiful fate and make those delicious dumplings when you desire.
- 1kg of russet potatoes, peeled and diced
- potato starch (1/4 volume of potatoes, see below)
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp of salt (for boiling the potatoes)
- 1 tbsp of salt (for boiling the Silesian dumplings)
- Cook the potatoes until tender in boiling water with a teaspoon of salt. When they are ready, drain them and mash them thoroughly.
- Transfer the mashed potatoes into a bowl and smooth the top
- Divide your mass into fourths. To do so, you can draw two lines on its top.
- Scoop out 1/4 of the potatoes and fill this space with potato starch. Then, return the potatoes you just scooped out to the bowl.
- Add an egg and stir until well combined.
- Now it’s time to use one of the forming methods described above in the “two methods of forming” section.
- Prepare a large pot of barely simmering salted water.
- Place dumplings in water, preferably with a slotted spoon. Be careful not to overcrowd the pot.
- The dumplings should rise to the top after a few minutes. If any of them stay at the bottom, nudge them gently to see whether they are stuck.
- After they resurface, cook for 5 more minutes and then remove them with a slotted spoon.
- Garnish with the topping of your choice.
Enjoy, or as we say in Poland, smacznego!
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