This time, "Cuisine of the World" features cuisine from the Czech Republic. We visited "Café ano," an authentic Czech restaurant in Shibuya, Tokyo, with Toshiyuki Araki and his wife. Mr. Araki was working for Marubeni on power generation and railway car export businesses in the Czech Republic, while he was posted to nearby Poland, and therefore visited it regularly.
The Czech Republic is an industrial nation of tradition, famous for its craft products such as Bohemian Glass. In the capital, Prague, there are many buildings with towers, which somehow escaped being burned in the war and survive today, so that the country's traditional streetscapes are still in evidence. "The old city has been registered as a world heritage site, and there are regulations to protect the town's scenery, so there are absolutely no glary signboards hung up anywhere. It is an example which Japan has a lot to learn from," says Mr. Araki.
Mrs. Araki who also visited the Czech Republic from Warsaw many times during her husband's posting in Poland, and says she was impressed how "not just Prague but even the local cities had pretty streetscapes." It was not just Mr. and Mrs. Araki who fell in love with the Czech Republic. "Our children also love the traditional Czech dish, ‘Bramborak,' and even today we often make them at home." The Czech Republic boasts quaint scenery and a good food culture. In addition, according to Mr. Araki, another point of appeal about the Czech Republic and one which makes it an easy place for Japanese people to get used to is the Czech people, who are "serious and friendly to Japan, and have the technical abilities and disposition of craftsmen."
Step 1: Peel the potatoes and grate them.
Step 2: Add the raw egg, grated garlic, flour, marjoram, salt and pepper to the grated potatoes from Step 1 and mix together. A rough guide for the amount of flour is to use the same amount as that used for the base when making Japanese "Okonomiyaki" pancakes.
Step 3: When the oil in the frying pan is hot enough, add enough of the mixture from Step 2 for one person, in the shape of a circle, and fry it.
Step 4: Fry until both surfaces have turned a golden brown color, and then the "Bramborak" is ready to eat.
Step 5: Next, this is how you make "Bramborak" into "Sausage Bramborak." Place the "Bramborak" from Step 4 onto a plate, add sauerkraut and fold it over to enclose it.
Step 6: Finally, garnish with sausages (which you have already fried up), cheese and tomatoes, and sprinkle parsley to complete.
* It is important to taste the flavor of each potato. You will find that each one has a slightly different flavor, so taste them before frying them up, and if they are very sweet, add more salt and pepper. It is important to adjust the flavor in this way. In terms of variety, it is best to use the round Irish cobbler variety (in Japan, called "Danshaku").
* Use a generous amount of oil when frying the base. If you put the base in all at once and the oil is hot enough, you should be able to cook them so they turn golden brown.
* If you wait too long after making the base, the color of the potatoes will change, so fry them up straight away after making the base.
The staple food in the Czech Republic is potatoes. There is an abundant variety of potatoes, which are used for different purposes according to the dish being made. "Bramborak" is a dish very close to the hearts of Czech people, like "Okonomiyaki" pancakes are to people in Japan. People eat them plain, as they are, as a snack between meals, or sometimes fry them up with thin slices of sausage mixed into the base. They also taste good when eaten together with smoked salmon or chicken, so please try various ways of eating them!
From: “Shareholder’s guide Marubeni,” Vol.102 (published in June 2007)