Is it too early to start posting Christmas recipes? I hope not. Because I’m getting really excited. My first Christmas in Australia. However, I decided to share a Czech recipe today. Because I’m still going to stick to a few traditions even if overseas. So let’s start the holiday season with this Traditional Czech Potato Salad (Paleo, Whole30). And read a bit about the traditional meals below 🙂
If you could take a sneak look into the Czech households in the evening of 24th of December (when we celebrate Christmas), you would most likely see very similar meals on every dining table. Because even in the fast changing environment, people still like to stick to the traditional meals during the holiday season.
When talking about tradition, back in the day the food on the Czech Christmas table was a bit different than it’s these days. But one old tradition is still very popular. Because we have a big Christmas dinner including several dishes before opening the presents, most of the people “fast” during the day. There is even a little story circling around, that if you fast during the Christmas day, you’ll have a chance to see a golden pig which would bring you luck in the upcoming year. So if you eat anything before the Christmas dinner, it should be only a small light meal without meat.
But after that all the feasting begins. The “modern times” traditional dinner (the tradition starting in 19th century) is composed of fish soup, crumbed fried fish and potato salad as a side. And little Christmas sweets and cookies after. Some families even add one more appetiser or a dessert in form of Christmas sweet loaf or fresh exotic fruit (habit from the days when it was not usual to get these fruits on a normal basis and it was something special).
For me the potato salad is the one Christmas meal I’m most excited about. It used to be the fish soup for a long time (me and my soup obsession), but since my body decided to develop a fish allergy years ago, I’m now on the no fish wagon (except fish sauce which I can handle for some reason). Anyway, back to the potato salad. I just love this dish. Maybe even because we don’t have it that often during the year, so it’s really special.
And my dad can make the best potato salad in the world. He would make it one day ahead, so the flavours had time to combine and develop. And he would actually have to use a bucket to make his famous salad as we didn’t have a bowl big enough in our kitchen. And then we would be tasting it with my brother and sneaking in the fridge for more when nobody was looking.
So my recipe is a little twist on my dad’s salad, changing a couple of ingredients to make it Paleo and Whole30 friendly. And even though his version would be always the tastiest I think I’m pretty close 🙂
- 2 sweet potatoes (about 500g)
- 2 carrots
- 5 tbsp white vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- 4 eggs, boiled
- 6 tbsp homemade mayonnaise
- 4 tbsp pickle juice
- 1 tsp yellow mustard
- European style pickles (Gherkins) - same amount as the carrots, which made 8 small pickles in my salad (if you are using store bought pickles make sure they have no sugar, especially for the Whole30 version or make the fake ones as described below)
- ½ onion, peeled and finely diced
- Place the whole sweet potatoes in a pot with cold water and pinch of salt. Make sure the water covers the potatoes, if not pour in more. Place the pot over a high heat and bring the water to boil. Once the potatoes are boiling, lower the heat, but make sure the water keeps bubbling. Boil the potatoes until soft in the middle (try to pinch it with a fork), it should take about 30-40 mins. Strain the water out of the pot and let the potatoes aside to cool completely.
- Once the potatoes are cool, peel the skin of and cut them in small square pieces, about 1 cm big.
- Peel the carrots and cut them in small pieces (about the size of half a nail).
- Pour half a litre of cold water in a small pot, add 5 tbsp of white vinegar and pinch of salt. Place the pot over high heat and bring the water to boil. Once the water is boiling put the carrots in. Lower the heat but make sure the water is still bubbling. Boil the carrots for about 15 mins until soft. Strain the water out of the pot and let the carrots aside to cool completely.
- Cut the gherkins in small pieces, about half the size of the carrot bits.
- If you can't find gherkins without sugar and don't feel like fermenting them yourself (which is the best option and I highly recommend it), you can simply make a fake quick version. Cut small Lebanese cucumber in small pieces and make it in a same way as the carrots, just using double amount of vinegar and couple dates to make it taste sweeter. Toss the dates after.
- Cut the boiled and peeled eggs in small pieces, about the same size as the potatoes.
- Once the potatoes and carrots are cool, place them both in a big bowl. Add the onion and gherkins, pinch of salt and pepper and mix everything gently together. Add the mayonnaise, mustard and pickle juice and mix everything gently again. At last stir in the eggs.
- Let the salad cool in a fridge for at least few hours before serving, so the tastes have time to develop.
Ready for more Christmas ideas?