Grate the optional onion (about 2 to 3 tablespoons). Place in a large bowl. Peel and grate the potatoes, capturing the liquid. If using a blender or food processor, grind the onion and potatoes together.
Drain the grated potato in a bowl lined with a strainer, reserving the liquid. Immediately transfer to the bowl with the grated onion, and mix well with the optional onion to prevent discoloring of the potato.
Let the reserved liquid sit for about 10 minutes. The starch in the liquid will sink to the bottom. Carefully pour out the water, saving the starch. Add the starch and salt to the grated potato along with the optional garlic chives. Mix well.
Heat a skillet with two tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add 1/2 of the batter, and spread it evenly into a round shape. You can make smaller pancakes if you like. Reduce the heat to medium to medium low, and cook until the bottom is light golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Repeat the process with the remaining batter. Serve hot with a dipping sauce.
When grated, potatoes turn brown quickly. It still is fine to cook with and eat. You can use a little bit of onion to prevent discoloring of the potatoes without overpowering the flavor of the pancake. Make sure to grate the onion first so you can mix with the potato as soon as it’s grated.