Latkes or potato pancakes are a traditional Chanukah comfort food consisting of little more than grated potatoes, eggs and flour, mixed together and fried in oil. It sounds simple, but if you've ever had a really good latke, you know what it should - and shouldn't - taste like. A good latke is crispy on the outside and light on the inside, and although cooked in oil it's not heavy tasting or sodden.
Proportions are key, and in our latke recipe we use three eggs for extra fluffiness. We also drain and dry the grated potatoes so the mixture is nice and thick, not watery.
Latkes taste best if you eat them immediately, so elbow your way to the table and demand your fair share - this is no time to be polite!
Serves: 4 (makes 15-20 small pancakes)
4 large potatoes, washed and peeled, grated
1 small onion, chopped
3 large eggs, beaten
1 c. flour
2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper (optional, if your kids like it)
vegetable oil for frying
applesauce and sour cream
1. Grate the potatoes and place them in a colander to drain. We like them grated on the big hole into strands, but many cooks grate them more finely.
2. Set the table and put out the applesauce and sour cream. You want to eat the latkes as soon as they come out of the frying pan.
3. Dump the grated potatoes into a dishcloth (in a big bowl), wrap them up in the cloth and squeeze the bundle to absorb some of the potato liquid into the cloth. Remove the dishcloth.
4. Beat the eggs with the salt and pepper and combine them with the potatoes.
5. Add the flour to the egg/potato mixture and mix well.
6. In a large skillet, heat about 1/4" of vegetable oil. We use canola oil because it heats and fries well.
7. When the oil is hot (be patient - the oil has to be really hot), drop large spoonfuls of potato mixture into the oil and fry for about 3 minutes per side. The latkes should be golden brown on both sides.
8. Drain the latkes on paper towels and serve immediately with applesauce and sour cream.
9. Eat, bubbeleh. How often do I see you?