Latkes Small - ©

Classic Dishes: Traditional Latkes

It’s Chanukah this week as well as Christmas Week. And what would the great Jewish Festival of Lights be without its most iconic food – Latkes. Some folks think there’s something magical and exotic about making traditional, crispy Latkes. But the secret is, you add the magic!

Classic Latkes - © toriavey.comClassic Potato Latkes with Apple Sauce for dipping. A combination almost
as traditional as Latkes and Sour Cream!

Latkes are about as easy a treat as you could ever imagine. They consist of three ingredients: Eggs, On ions and Grated Potatoes. Sound like the recipe for Hash Browns you already know and love? Well, there are a few important differences…

  • Latkes are made out of many vegetables these days, though no Jewish cook strays far from the traditional recipe for Chanukah, You can use Sweet Potatoes, Carrots or even non-starchy veggies, employing a starchy binder such as Matzo Meal or Flour to help keep the cakes together. Just don’t forget the Onions!
  • Be advised that Latke aficionados fry them quickly in hot Olive Oil. We are told that’s another tradition, as Chanukah comes at the end of Olive Pressing Season. Sounds good, and (I’ve tried it) tastes good!
  • After grating Potatoes, place them in a colander to drain. You can also wrap them in a clean old dish towel and squeeze the excess moisture out. That’s faster, but Latke pros say it damages the Potatoes and changes the texture.
  • You can also add Herbs or Spices to suit your taste. Make them savoury or sweet!
  • Sprinkle some Lemon Juice over the grated Potatoes to help keep them white and crisp.
  • Real Latkes want to be small, round and no more than half an inch thick. That way, they cook faster, come out crisper and taste better, say fans.
  • Latkes must be served fresh and hot from the frying pan and topped immediately with whatever you want. Sour Cream is, of course, de rigeur.

If you want to know everything there is to know about Latkes, segue over to this site. But the foregoing nuggets of Latke wisdom should get you started on making this treat yourself and making it your own!

~ Maggie J.