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Mohnnudel, which means poppy seed noodle in German, is a dish comprising thick noodles that are made out of potato dough. The plural form is Mohnnudeln, which translates to poppy seed noodles. It is mostly associated with the cuisine of the Central European country of Austria, but is also made and enjoyed in Bohemia, which forms a large chunk of another Central European country, the Czech Republic.
A popular alternate term for Mohnnudel is Waldviertler Mohnnudeln. The name arises from the northwestern region of Lower Austria, which is the northeast state of the country. Waldviertler is renowned for its production of gray poppy seeds, a product that originated in the western Mediterranean region of Europe and is first mentioned around the late 13th century. The success of poppy seed cultivation in Waldviertler, plus its distinctively mild and nutty taste, is accredited to a number of factors: hilly landscapes, nutrient poor soil, small farmlands, heavy dew and a rough climate. This area of Austria made the country the premier poppy-seed producer on the continent, with the European Commission declaring it a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) in 1997.
Such prominence nurtured the development of poppy seed-based dishes. Apart from the potatoes and seeds, other main ingredients found in Mohnnudel include flour, salt, milk and powdered sugar. The potatoes are peeled and cooked until they are soft, then mashed and mixed with the flour, salt and milk to create a smooth, soft dough. The seeds are not added until the dough has been turned into little logs, cooked in boiling water, then fried in oil. The hot noodles, covered with poppy seeds, are then sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Mohnnudel has been likened to Schupfnudel, which means rolled noodle in German, mainly due to their similar manner of production and ingredients. The latter is also made from potato, although it can also be made with rye or wheat flour. Schupfnudeln is as prominent in Austrian cuisine as it is in German cuisine. Other names for Schupfnudeln include Fingernudlen, or finger noodles, and Bubespitzle in the southwestern German state of Baden-Wurttemberg, which actually translates to boy penises.
There are two traditional ways of eating Mohnnudel. Most people eat it as a main course meal. The dish, however, can also be consumed as a light dinner or dessert. By comparison, Schupfnudel is usually eaten with sauerkraut or a sweet-tasting dish.