Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa are the most well-known December holidays celebrated in the U.S. This week we are excited to visit Hanukkah.
Latkes, a.k.a. potato pancakes are great any time of the year, but around Hanukkah there’s a whole latke love!
Some say Lat-KEY, we say LAT-ka. Could pronunciations vary in different regions? We’re not sure, but what we do know is that we can’t get enough when it comes to potato pancakes.
Why are Latkes Such a Beloved Tradition During Hanukkah?
The pancakes are fried to a golden crisp, and eaten to commemorate Hanukkah’s miracle in the temple of one day’s worth of oil burning in the Menorah for eight straight days.
This oil is the reason that Jewish people often deep fry much of their foods in oil when celebrating Hanukkah.
Joel grew up in Wisconsin, where Friday’s are famous for fish fries with potato pancakes being one of the side dishes. His family would enjoy them with applesauce, sour cream and blood sausage.
Our journey now takes us to making latkes benedict with grilled veggies and plant-based, allergy-friendly hollandaise. We love how versatile these gems can be. However, we always fall back on our favorite, plain and simple, latkes with applesauce, which we make at family get togethers and more.
The Best Potatoes for Latkes
We used russet potatoes in this recipe, but Yukon golds also yield great results. We found that the starchier the potato, the crispier the latke.
Simple Steps to Making Latkes
Prepare a heavy-duty skillet with oil to a depth of 1/4 to 1/2-inch while you gather your mise en place, in other words, your ingredients and utensils.
Prepare your flax egg. Grate or dice onions. Grate potatoes coarsely by hand, transferring to a large bowl of cold water as grated. Could you use a food processor? Of course!
When you are finished grating the potatoes, drain in a colander set in a large bowl, reserving liquid. Transfer potatoes to a colander lined with 3 layers of cheesecloth. Twist cheesecloth into a pouch, squeezing out moisture.
Get as much liquid out of your potato shreds as possible before mixing. The less moisture, the better the results will be. Slowly pour out and discard the liquid from potatoes, leaving the white potato starch that settled in the bottom of the bowl.
To the bowl with the starch add onion, flax egg, salt and pepper. Return drained potatoes to this mixture and toss to combine.
Cover the batter with plastic wrap so it’s directly touching surface so no air comes in contact with the batter while you are waiting to cook the pancakes. This will prevent the potatoes from oxidizing and turning brown.
When the oil is hot, portion 1/4 cup batter for each pancake into the pan, being careful not to crowd the pan. Spread pancakes into rounds with a fork. Flip when they are golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Cook the other side until browned, about 3-4 minutes more.
If you are making a large batch, keep pancakes warm on a wire rack set in a shallow baking pan in oven at 200 degrees F.
You probably have seen recipes using flour or matzoh meal. We made a batch with a gluten-free flour blend, which produced a batter that was not as wet. This yielded nice pancakes that were denser than those without flour.
If you prefer your latkes with flour, simply add 1/2 cup of your favorite gluten-free flour blend and 1/2 tsp baking powder after you have mixed the batter ingredients.
Yield 6 Latkes
Free of: gluten and top 8 allergens.
Potato pancakes are great any time of year, but around Hanukkah there's a whole latke love!
1 tbsp flaxseed meal
3 tbsp lukewarm water
1 cup grated yellow onion, drained
2-3 large russet potatoes, about 1 pound after peeling
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4-1/2 cup vegetable oil (See Recipe Notes)
chives or green onions, optional
allergy-friendly sour cream, optional
- In a small bowl, whisk together flaxseed meal and water. Set aside.
- Trim, peel and shred onions using large holes on a box grater or food processor with grating blade. Measure out 1 cup and set aside.
- Wash, peel and grate potatoes, placing in a bowl of cold water as they are grated. When finished grating potatoes, drain in a colander that is set in a large bowl, reserving liquid. Place drained potato shreds in a colander lined with 3 layers of cheesecloth. Twist cheesecloth into a pouch, squeezing out moisture. Get as much liquid out of your potato shreds as possible before mixing. Slowly pour out the reserved liquid, leaving the white potato starch that settled in the bottom of the bowl.
- Return to the flaxseed meal and water and vigorously whisk; it will be gelatinous.
- To the bowl with the starch add onion, flax egg, salt and pepper. Measure out 3 cups of drained grated potatoes and add to mixture. Toss to combine.
- Cover batter with plastic wrap so it's directly touching surface so no air comes in contact with the batter while you are waiting to cook the pancakes. This prevents potatoes from oxidizing and turning brown.
- Heat heavy-duty skillet with oil to a depth of 1/4 to 1/2-inch over medium heat. When the oil is hot, portion 1/4 cup batter for each pancake into the pan, being careful not to crowd the pan. Spread each pancake into rounds with a fork. Flip when they are golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Cook the other side until browned, about 3-4 minutes more.
- Drain pancakes on paper towels and serve immediately with applesauce and allergy-friendly sour cream or keep latkes warm on a wire rack set in a shallow baking pan in oven at 200 degrees F.
- Fry with an oil that has a high smoke point, like grapeseed oil, canola oil or safflower oil. This will help ensure the latkes are crispy on the outside and perfectly fluffy on the inside.
Courses Veggies & Sides, Breakfast & Brunch