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Aunt Dafni from Kataraktis makes potato balls

Aunt Dafni from Kataraktis makes potato balls

I’ve known Dafni for many years; we’ve spent endless afternoons and evenings in the little coffee shop she runs in Kataraktis, either around the wood stove or outside, next to the sea. The elderly villagers sit around a glass of coffee, engaging in overlong storytelling, getting to politics and arguing only to make up shortly afterwards; in summer, you can put your feet up and just gaze at the sea.

“What can I get you, sweetie?” asks auntie in her singing voice; “I have cuttlefish and squid, sourdough bread that I make and fresh fish that Anthi caught when she went fishing in the morning”. She is referring to her daughter, whose pretty face has been stamped with the salty brine. “I’m definitely in the mood for some potato balls” I replied as the flavor and the smell began taking me on a memory trip, when potato balls would sizzle in the pan out in the back yard and the scent would waft to every neighborhood. You see, Dafni’s potato balls smell and taste like the old ones. “Are you going to let me in on the recipe?” I asked her; “Of course I am, what do you think it is? Some kind of state secret?”


Prepare for: 30 min – Bake for: 15 min
Degree of difficulty: Moderate
Serves: Three to four



One kilo of yellow potatoes
Two tablespoons of grated kefalotiri (hard, salty white cheese) or cottage cheese
One tablespoon of dry spearmint
One tablespoon of oregano
One egg
Pepper; a pinch of salt
Plain flour
Frying oil


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How to make

Boil the potatoes tender in plenty of water, peel them and mash them thoroughly in a wooden mortar while hot.

Put the mashed potatoes in a bowl and add the ingredients with the egg. If the blend seems thick, add another egg. Knead it carefully and allow it to cool completely.

Make oblong potato balls by rolling them gently around in flour before frying them from both sides.

“You know, some wouldn’t mind adding a tad of fresh onion” I told Dafni. “You can add whatever you want in your kitchen; in here, I’m in charge” she replied laughing.

Translated into English by Nikos Loutraris

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