How to Make Potato Latkes

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Latkes, or potato pancakes, are the traditional Hanukkah dish for Eastern European Jews. But the Hanukkah isn't in the potato; it's in the oil the latkes are fried in. When the Jerusalem Temple was recaptured and reconsecrated by the Maccabbees, only one night's worth of oil remained to light the temple. Miraculously, though, the oil lasted eight nights, or enough time to make more oil. That's the miracle of Hanukkah. This makes about two dozen small latkes.

Things You'll Need

  • 3 large baking potatoes
  • salt
  • 2 tbsp. matzoh meal or flour
  • 1/2 onion
  • black pepper
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • Groceries
  • Skillets
  • Spatulas
  • Grate the potatoes and the onion. The weak can use a food processor.

  • Mix the grated potatoes and onion, beaten egg, salt and pepper, and matzo meal or flour in a bowl.

  • Heat a skillet over a medium flame.

  • Film the skillet with 1 to 2 tbsp. oil.

  • Form the potato mixture into small cakes - 2 to 3 tbsp. of potato per cake. Don't make the cakes too big; they're easier to turn when small.

  • Flatten the cakes slightly with a spatula.

  • Cook until the cakes are nice and brown on the bottom, then turn and cook the other side.

  • Repeat with the remaining potato mixture.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep the finished latkes in a warm oven until ready to serve.
  • Applesauce and sour cream are traditional accompaniments for latkes.
  • To make latkes that are kosher for Passover, don't use flour, only matzo meal.
  • This is a traditional way of making latkes; the cakes aren't the crispiest, due to the matzo meal, but they don't fall apart, either. (The meal or flour is necessary here to soak up the moisture in the potatoes.) You can also try making latkes by squeezing the liquid out of the potatoes into a bowl, then pouring off the liquid but saving the potato starch. Add the starch to the potato, onion and egg, but don't add the matzo meal. The cakes should hold together but be crisper.

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