To get you ready for the start of Hanukah (lighting its first candle the night of December 21 this year), here are some latke recipes for you!
Traditional Potato Latkes (adapted from a recipe by Barry Tunkel, a.k.a. the Latke King, a mighty maker of latkes in my synagogue when I was growing up)
4-5 medium potatoes, grated
1 onion, grated
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
Canola, corn, peanut, or olive oil
3 heaping Tbs. matzo meal (or flour)
1 –2 Tbs. fresh parsley
Place grated potatoes in a large mixing bowl and let sit for a few minutes.
In a smaller bowl, beat eggs and then mix with grated onion, pepper, and salt.
Squeeze the water out of the potatoes and drain, then toss with the flour and baking powder.
Combine potato and egg mixture in the large bowl.
Add a couple of Tbs. oil and mix well.
Heat a frying pan to medium heat and add about ¼” of oil.
When hot, place heaping Tbs. of latke mixture into the pan (about 5 latkes to an 10” skillet) and press down lightly into a flat (but thick) pancake.
Cook until lightly browned on one side and then turn over with a spatula to brown on the other side.
Drain on paper towels, or layer on parchment paper in a 250-degree oven to keep warm. Eat and enjoy with applesauce and sour cream.
If making in advance to be frozen, place latkes in a single layer on a foil-lined cookie sheet and freeze. When frozen place in plastic bag. To reheat, pre-heat oven to 425 F and heat for 10 minutes.
A WaPo writer pulled together the best elements of all latke worlds. These look like more work to prepare than some other recipes, but quicker to cook once they’re ready. Recipe here.
Sweet Potato Latkes (first published as Sweet Potato Panquettes — shh!)
These use mashed sweet potato rather than grated potato like traditional latkes. But they’re still fried, and that’s what’s important for Hanukah latkes!
1/2 c. walnuts
1 c. cooked sweet potato, mashed
1/4 c. dried currants or raisins
1 slice bread, crumbled, or a handful of breadcrumbs
1 Tbs. melted butter or canola or corn oil
salt to taste
Oil for frying
Apple sauce and/or sour cream
Put walnuts in oven to toast at 400 F or so (or under a broiler but not too close).
Combine sweet potato, currants or raisins, crumbled bread or breadcrumbs, butter or oil, and a few pinches salt. Mix thoroughly, making sure the egg gets beaten into the mixture.
Remove walnuts from the oven, let cool until you can comfortably handle them, and crumble them into the mixture. Alternatively, you can put them on a cutting board and crush them with the butt of a knife or a mallet. (That gives you more to wash at the end, but can be mightily satisfying). Fold in the walnuts.
Heat about 1/4″ of oil in a skillet or cast iron pan. When a bit of the latke batter sizzles in the oil, it’s ready to fry up your babies.
Drop batter by heaping tablespoonful into the oil and flatten.
Fry for a minute or two on each side, adjusting the heat to keep the temperature of the pan at med-high. Remove latkes to a plate covered in paper towel.
Serve immediately with apple sauce and/or sour cream.