T in Tel Aviv has received a few e mails in the last few days questioning the preparation of Latkes in advance. The answer is YES! make them in advance. Below you will find my post from December 2008 with all of the particulars. I will start frying this coming Sunday a.m.!
The Chanukah Dilemmas
The first night/candle of Chanukah falls on Friday, December 11, 2009.
Let's begin with Chanukah dilemma number one. How do you spell Chanukah? There is no correct way to spell it, because the word itself is a transliteration from the Hebrew word, חנוכה, meaning "dedication". The "ch" that starts the word is pronounced as if you were clearing your throat or saying the word "chutzpah". Or you can do the "soft H" sound but you won't sound as authentic. All of the other additions of "k"s, "n"s and "h"s are according to personal taste. That's how we end up with the following spellings: "Hanukkah," "Channukah" and "Hanukah". BTW, Microsoft Word spell check only called attention to "Channukah".
Dilemma number two and three involve the preparation of the traditional potato pancakes or "latkes". Which latkes to make and can you make them in advance and freeze them? T inTel Aviv offers a number of recipes below and votes for freezing. There's nothing like frying shredded potatoes and onions while your guests are anxiously awaiting the latkes fresh out of the oil. Sorry folks, there's limit to a hostess's suffering. Not to mention the smell of your house or hair after you've been frying!
So Happy Chanukah and Happy Frying!
Traditional Potato Latkes
(recipe courtesy of Sharon Glaser, mother of T in Tel Aviv)
2 pounds russet potatoes
1/2 - 2 teaspoons of salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
Freshly ground white pepper to taste
Vegetable oil for frying - Canola is good
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 6 sticks (read on to find out why)
Lots of aluminum foil!
Cover the area surrounding your stove top with foil!!!!
Clean, peel the potatoes and grate them. (This can be done in a food processor, but the texture is better if done by hand -sorry) Place the grated potatoes in a bowl while you peel and grate the onion. Another variation is to just clean the potatoes well without peeling.
2. In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, onion, eggs, and flour and season with salt and pepper. Mix well. In a large, heavy skillet, add oil to a depth of about 1/4 inch and heat over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Add one carrot stick to the pan. Theory here is that the carrot will burn rather than your potatoes.
3. Drop 1/4 cup of the potato mixture into the hot oil, flattening gently with a spatula. Fry the latkes until deep brown and crisp on both sides. You should taste one latke from the first batch in order to check saltiness. (Bet you can't each just taste one!)
Serve with apple sauce, sliced cheese or sour cream.
Makes about 35 latkes.
Sweet Potato Latkes
4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and grated
1 white potato, peeled and grated
1 onion, peeled and grated
1/2 teaspoon each of salt and white pepper (to taste)
4 eggs, lightly beaten1/2 cup unbleached white flour
Curry, coriander (optional according to taste)
Oil for frying- Canola is good
In a large bowl, combine grated sweet potatoes, onion, salt, pepper, and eggs and stir well to combine. Add flour and mix again.
Heat half the oil over medium-high heat in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet. Drop large spoonfuls of the batter into the skillet, pressing gently with a spatula to flatten each latke. Do not crowd them. Fry for 4 to 5 minutes, until underside is brown, then flip and cook another 3 or 4 minutes more. Drain on cookie sheets covered with paper towels. Freeze or serve as in the above potato latke recipe.
And for the healthy eaters amongst us…..
Oven Baked Latkes
1-lb. russet potatoes
1 small onion
1 large egg
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper
3 tbsp all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 425F
Wash and dry potatoes and remove the dry, outer skin from the onion (there is no need to peel the potatoes). Grate potatoes and onion. Transfer potato mixture to a large bowl and stir in the egg. In a small bowl, mix together the baking powder, salt and flour, then stir that in as well.
Drop latke mixture in 2-3 tablespoon measures, forming 2-3 inch pancakes on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, then turn the pancakes over, and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Latkes should be deep gold on both sides when done. Bake for a bit longer if necessary.