Recently I bought myself a cookbook about German cuisine. When I first paged through it I thought about returning it because of the dead animal parts staring at me on almost every page. My second thought was to veganize those meat dishes, but that would have meant to buy almost two tons of seitan for the whole book. But when I browsed through the chapters about South German cooking, I realized that there were many foods I could cook without much effort or complicated ingredients.
South German cuisine has a long tradition (which it shares with Austria and Eastern Europe) of so called Mehlspeisen (Mehl = flour; Speise = dish/meal). These are mostly desserts but some can also be prepared as a sweet main dishes. Many of them are yeasted like Rohrnudeln or Dampfnudeln, others are made without leavening like Palatschinken or Schupfnudeln.
Schupfnudeln (also called Fingernudeln = finger noodles) are thick noodles made from potatoes and/or flour. There are many varieties, they can be cooked or fried, served alone or with other side dishes.
Another version of these noodles is called Mohnnudeln (poppy seed noodles). Actually these are not German but Austrian. They are also called Waldviertler Mohnnudeln, referring to the area where they originated. Waldviertel is a part of Lower Austria where poppy seeds have been cultivated for ages. Therefore the seeds are are part of many recipes. You can find them in baked goods, dumplings, soups, cheese, and even omelettes. And they can be sprinkled on top of thick noodles, which are cooked and fried before they are mixed with the seeds.
These noodles require several preparation steps but they are very easy to make and totally worth the effort.
Mohnnudeln (makes four small or two large servings)
1 lb + 1.6 oz starchy potatoes*
3/4 cup + 1 T all purpose flour
1/3 cup potato starch
1/2 t salt
1 T sugar**
1 T soy milk
1 T coconut oil (or margarine)
2 T poppy seeds
3-4 T agave
1 T rum (optional)
1/2 t vanilla extract
Confectioners sugar, shaved chocolate, shredded coconut, or slivered almonds for decoration
* don’t use waxy ones, they won’t keep the dough together
** the original recipe doesn’t call for sugar in the dough, but I found it rather bland without
Cook the potatoes in water until soft. Depending on the size of the potatoes, this will take 20-30 minutes.
Mix flour, starch, salt, and sugar in a bowl. Drain potatoes and peel them immediately. Mash them and get rid of any lumps. Work as fast as you can and mix the still very warm potatoes with the flour mixture. Add soy milk and knead into a smooth and soft dough. Fill a large pot with water and, over medium heat, bring to a boil. Meanwhile roll the dough into little balls and then into little logs.
Mine were 2 1/2 to 3 inches long (aim for 3/4 inch thick balls) but you can definitely make them smaller which will shorten the cooking time. Transfer them to the cooking water, immediately reducing the heat to a simmer. Cook for 5-15 minutes depending on the size of the noodles (mine cooked for 15 minutes). The noodles are ready when they have the same consistency as cooked gnocchi (firm and not mushy anymore).
Drain the noodles and heat coconut oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add noodles and cook for 5 minutes stirring once in a while. (The original recipe didn’t call for frying but for mixing the hot noodles with fat and poppy seeds. I thought the frying gave them a nicer texture).
Remove from heat and add poppy seeds, agave, vanilla extract and rum (optional). Serve and sprinkle with almonds, shredded coconut, or even chocolate (the more traditional way is to sprinkle them with sifted powdered sugar).