Greek Potato Pancakes (Begli) Recipe

Greek Potato Pancakes (Begli)

Yield: 4 servings

Time: 60 minutes

This simple recipe made of cooked potatoes and tomatoes is a specialty of the Cyclades Islands in Greece. They are sold on the streets as a quick bite. It can be a delicious, light vegetarian lunch when paired with Tzatziki, a cucumber yogurt sauce. On the Cyclades Islands, Begli are often served as part of a Mezze, the small appetizer plates Greeks love so much, especially with a chilled glass of Ouzo, the anise-flavored aperitif.


  • 1 1/2 lbs (675 g) potatoes, skin left on
  • 1/2 lbs (225 g) tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 lb (115 g) Kefalotiri (Greek hard cheese) or Parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 Tbsp flour
  • olive oil for frying


Put coarsely chopped tomatoes in a sieve and let them drain well. Make sure that all extra moisture is completely gone. Any excessive moisture will result in cakes falling apart when fried.

Meanwhile, bring water to a boil. Add salt to taste and cook the potatoes for about 25 minutes. Drain and let potatoes cool a bit. Peel and mash them while still warm. Set aside in a bowl. Add the well-drained tomatoes, the hard cheese, the beaten eggs, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Add the flour by the tablespoons, mixing it well after each addition. If the mixture is still runny add a few more tablespoons of flour. The potato-tomato mixture should hold well on a spoon.

Warm 2 tablespoon olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add about 2 tablespoons of the potato-tomato mix per cake to the frying pan. Fry a few at a time about 5 minutes on each side or until they nicely golden brown. Add more olive oil to the pan and continue frying the cakes. Do not overcrowd the pan. It will be difficult to turn the cakes on the other side. The center of the cakes is still soft and cakes can break easily. Keep them warm in the oven set at 200°F (95°C) until you are finished.

Serve with the Tzatziki.

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