I love both of them, but I don't quite understand the difference between potato pancakes and hashbrowns. My guess is that hashbrowns tend to be softer and chunkier, and potato pancakes tend to be thin and crispy. But then again, I've had potato pancakes that taste like hashbrowns, and hashbrowns that taste like potato pancakes. Can anyone clarify this for me?
My next question is for recipes... are eggs really needed in either? What about flour or matzo meal? I've seen a lot of recipes that have you soak the potatoes in water to get rid of the starches and then drain them, but in culinary school, one of the chefs freaked out when a fellow student did that, and he had them put the potatoes, unrinsed and undrained, into the pan (without any eggs--I believe she was making potato pancakes). My ideal pancake or hashbrown would be thin and crispy with just a hint of soft middle--do coarse shredded potatoes work better for this, or finely shredded? Thanks for your help!