What’s Cooking: Hanukkah Latkes

Hanukkah Cooking Demo

Latke Recipe

Crispy Potato Latkes

Crispy Potato Latkes

Ingredients:

1/2 an onion

2 tbsp. oil

3 tsp. kosher salt, divided

1.5 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes

2 eggs

1/4 cup flour

Oil for frying

Directions:

1. Dice the onion and sauté it in 2 tbsp. oil and 1 tsp. salt until golden.

2. Grate the potatoes (by hand or in a food processor). Immediately transfer the grated potato to a bowl of cold water.

3. Place the eggs, flour, fried onion and 2 tsp. salt in a separate bowl. Drain the grated potato, add it to the rest of the ingredients and mix immediately.

4. Heat 24 tbsp. of oil in a frying pan, over medium heat. Test the oil by dropping a tiny bit ofthe mixture into the pan. When the oil sizzles upon contact, it is ready.

5. For uniform latkes, use a 1/4 cup measuring cup. Scoop the batter and gently drop it into the oil.

Press down gently with the back of the measuring cup to flatten. Fry 23 minutes until golden, then flip the latkes and fry 1-2 minutes on the second side. Repeat until all the mixture has been fried. (You will need to add more oil to the pan every couple of batches.)

Yields: 16 latkes

TIPS:

Add a small piece of carrot to the oil you’re frying in. When the carrot starts to looks shriveled and brown, replace it with a fresh piece. The carrot helps absorb the burnt taste from the oil, and you can keep frying for longer without changing the oil. 

Use Yukon Gold potatoes-they oxidize much slower than other potatoes, and your mixture won’t turn grey or brown.

Most latke recipes call for raw onion, but I like to fry them off first to give the latkes more flavor.

For a slightly lighter, healthier version, replace about 1/3 of the shredded potato with shredded zucchini.

It’s hard to salt to taste when you’re dealing with a raw potato and egg mixture. Make the batter, fry your first few latkes, then taste them and adjust the seasoning of the remaining raw batter as needed.

About Hanukkah

  • The festival of Hanukkah celebrates two miracles which occurred over 2,100 years ago :
  • Miracle #1: When the Maccabees liberated the Temple from the hands of the Greek invaders, they found only a small amount of olive oil fit for fueling the Menorah. The problem was, it was sufficient to light the Menorah only for one day, and it would take eight days to produce new pure oil. They lit it anyway, and miraculously, the oil burned for eight days.
  • Miracle #2: Hanukkah celebrates the ancient victory of the Maccabees, a small band of Jewish fighters, against their Greek Assyrian oppressors, in their struggle for religious freedom in the Land of Israel.
  • Hanukkah has become a time for families to celebrate together by lighting a home ‘menorah’ (candelabrum), playing ‘Dreidel’ (a Hanukkah spinning top) and sharing holiday foods, including the traditional ‘Latkes’ (shallow fried potato pancakes) and donuts.
  • This year’s Hanukkah celebrations bring added significance as Jewish communities worldwide celebrate the year of Hakhel, a once every seven years opportunity to celebrate Jewish unity and learning 

The Beth Menachem Chabad synagogue is holding two events for a Chanukah celebration and a menorah lighting in Newton and in Boston.

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