Each year for Hanukkah, Adam and I make potato latkes. For weeks, I thought Hanukkah started on the 12th (today). My calendar says so. Yesterday, however, in the late afternoon I got a text message from Adam telling me that Hanukkah actually started that day the 11th at sundown. No potatoes in the house, no oil, no candles, no apple sauce, nothing. Frantically, I ran to the grocery store to pick up the necessary items.
Latkes are potato pancakes. Potato pancakes can be found in traditional Polish, Ukrainian, German, Irish, and Yiddish cuisines. Latkes are eaten during Hanukkah and fried in oil. The oil for cooking the latkes is reminiscent of the oil from the Hanukkah story that kept the Second Temple of ancient Israel lit with a long-lasting flame that is celebrated as a miracle. This is also the reason for lighting the menorah.
I have had to learn how to make latkes over the years, as I was raised Catholic. Adam’s grandmother gave us a recipe, but alas, it too is in storage. I remember most of the ingredients and improvised the rest. They turned out really well. The outsides were crispy while the insides stayed nice and moist and flavorful. Latkes can be served with a variety of condiments – from savory (sour cream) to sweet (apple sauce and sugar). We like ours with a sprinkle of sugar and apple sauce.
Happy Hanukkah!Latkes by Anne Printable Recipe
2 1/2 pounds russet, or baking potatoes (about 4 large), scrubbed, peeled, halved 1 large onion, peeled and quartered 1 large egg 2 TBS flour, or matzoh meal 1/2 tsp baking powder 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp black pepper Mazola Canola Oil for frying
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with two layers of paper towels; set aside.
Using the grating disk of a food processor, shred the potatoes and onion together. Transfer potato and onion mixture to a large colander set over a bowl. Using both your hands, squeeze the potato mixture vigorously, trying to get as much of the liquid out as possible, letting the liquid drip through the potatoes and colander into the bowl underneath. Once you have finished squeezing, let mixture stand over the bowl for a minute or two.
Lift colander out of the bowl. Pour off the watery brown liquid in the bowl, but save the layer of pale beige paste at the bottom. (This chalky-looking stuff is potato starch, and you need it to help your latkes stick together.) Scrape up the paste, dump in the potato mixture, and mix together with a spatula.
Mix in flour or matzoh meal, salt, pepper, baking powder, and egg until it is evenly incorporated – you may want to use your hands.
Pour oil into a large skillet to a depth of 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Over medium-high heat, heat oil until a shred of potato mixture instantly sizzles when dropped in. In batches, pack potato mixture in a 1/4 cup measuring cup and place carefully in the oil. Repeat, with 2 or 3 others – do not overcrowd the pan. After 1 minute of cooking, use a slotted spatula to flatten out into a small disk. Let fry until deep golden brown, about 4 or 5 minutes, then flip over and continue frying until both sides are well browned, about 8 to 10 minutes for each batch. Using the slotted spatula, transfer latkes to the paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Place baking tray in the oven to keep latkes warm. Once all of latkes are cooked, serve immediately with your favorite condiment (apple sauce, sugar, or sour cream).