Monday, 25 November 2013
Hanukkah begins at sundown on Wednesday this week. Last year for Hanukkah I posted a matzo ball soup recipe. While matzo ball soup isn't necessarily uncommon at Hanukkah, it's more of a Passover dish. These, on the other hand, are a Hanukkah staple. A latke is a fried potato pancake. They are great as a snack or side dish with sour cream, yogurt, apple sauce or eaten as a hearty breakfast with a poached egg on top (yum). The key to a good latke is squeezing as much moisture out of your ingredients as possible. Latkes should be golden and crispy on the outside. Too much moisture will result in soggy latkes. In this version I added zucchini and carrot. You don't have to worry so much about the carrots but potatoes, onions and zucchinis contain a lot of water.
You should definitely make these regardless of whether or not you celebrate Hanukkah or are of another faith altogether. They're delicious, festive, fun to make and very easy. A standard box grater will give you the perfect lacy texture that makes a latke. Always opt for starchy potatoes rather than waxy potatoes when making latkes. They fry much better.
2 starchy potatoes, peeled and grated
1 zucchini, grated
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1/2 onion, grated
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Oil for frying
Salt & Pepper
Start by grating your potatoes, zucchini and onion in a large bowl. Your potatoes may change colour shortly after being grated. This is a normal process of oxidization. Don't worry, it will all be good when you fry them up.
In modest handfuls, squeeze as much liquid out of the vegetables as you can and place them in another bowl.
Discard the leftover liquid. Grate the carrot in with the rest of the veggies and mix well.
Season the veg with salt and pepper to your liking. Add the eggs, flour and baking powder and mix to combine. It will be easier to combine if you don't add all the flour at once.
Heat a skillet over medium heat and add 2 tbsp of any neutral oil suitable for frying. Keep the oil aside as you may have to add more as you go. Use a single thread of potato to test the oil. It should gently sizzle immediately. If it doesn't sizzle, the oil is not hot enough yet and your latkes will be soggy. If it sizzles too aggressively your latkes will burn. Use a 1/4 cup measurer for each latke. Flatten the latkes in the pan into a small cake. Fry in batches with as many as can fit in the pan without touching.
After 2-3 minutes you should be able to flip the latke to expose a golden, crispy side. Fry the second side of the latkes for an additional 2-3 minutes.
When finished, place the latkes on a sheet of paper towel to drain any excess oil then carry on frying the rest of the latkes. You may have to add a little more oil as you go, keep that in mind. Also, the time it takes to cook may decrease as you fry them. Keep an eye on your heat and adjust if your latkes start to burn.
Serve right away however you like them. You are going to love these if you don't already. Feel free to omit the zucchini and/ carrot. You could also add or substitute any firm, starchy vegetable of your choice like squash or parsnip for example.
I ended up with 14 of these but that will depend on the size of your vegetables. Play it by ear an feel free to reduce or increase the quantities to suit your event. I hope you enjoy and Happy Hanukkah!
Interesting Fact: The very first post on this blog was a photo of latkes I had made. See for yourself.