Monday, December 11, 2006

Chanukkah: Latkes

Ain't no party like a Chanukkah party, cause a Chanukkah party don't stop.

Or something like that. In any case, the roommates and I are having a Chanukkah party, so we are trying to test-drive latke recipes. To do so I've been scouring the internet (and the recipe boxes of friends' mothers) to find a good one. If you have a suggestion, please send it my way.

Anyway, on to the blogging. Firstly, according to C. Buddha of Hasty Musings "the first-ever Hanukkah latke recipe featured turnips, rhubarb and kale. These proved so unpopular that many different vegetables were substituted until the current potato version prevailed." While that may not be true, there seems to be a movement towards alternative latkes. For instance Vegetarian Holidays highlights a sweet potato latke recipe. Which sounds too much like a dessert for my taste. EBT Blue has a recipe on his/her blog for sweet potato latkes that seem a bit less fussy, but still too sweet. Also I dislike cooked fruit. And last of the sweet potato contenders, amalia of clipmarks has a recipe that seems like normal latkes, just with sweet potatoes substituted in.

NYC Nosh has a recipe that is so good that they claim Bubbes* use it instead of their own. I take leave to doubt that, but it does look tasty.Melissa Barton of The Love of Spice has a recipe that looks frighteningly easy. Glenny's, a health food maker has posted a recipe for cheese latkes complete with nutritional information. Really, I didn't want to know. I don't know where in the world to find brown rice flour, but if I did, I could make Anne-Marie Nichols' (of This Mama Cooks) latke recipe.

If you want something sort of like latkes Steven of Renegade Kosher Cooking has a recipe for a latke casserole. I would say that Jessica of Suburban Kvetch, who makes latkes from a mix also falls into the "something sort of like latkes category." Sorry! I just don't trust reconstituted vegetable matter.

And last, but not least, the "classic" latke recipes. Allergic Girl of Please Don't Pass the Nuts links to the NYTimes recipe. Foodie of The Cookbook claims that this is THE classic latke recipe, which having read many, I feel free to dispute, as it does not contain matzo meal. Apparently matzo meal is integral to many latke recipes. Who knew? Sarah Reznor of Sector-9 might disagree, she has a recipe which strips down the latke to the bare basics: potato, egg, onion. And last, but not least, if those latkes in the photo are actually from Debbie of Words to Eat By's recipe, then we may have a winner.

*Bubbe is Yiddish for grandmother


Aunt L. said...

Grandma H's recipe:

(Note: When using food processor, grate twice. Always put grated potatoes into 1/2 bowl of water, mix, drain off water, put potatoes in another bowl -- a lot of the starch is left at the bottom of the bowl. Immediately mix in the eggs to prevent potatoes from blackening.)

6 large potatoes
1/2 cup matzah meal
2 eggs
1 small onion, grated
2 tsp. salt

Have oil very hot in frying pan. Put in 1 tablespoon of potatoes at a time, about 5-6 to a pan. Turn as soon as it is firm. Turn a couple of times.

Grandma H. would have been 100 today.

AnnieGetYour said...

Thanks Aunt L. Didn't really expect one from my own grandmother.

Anonymous said...

I'm making parsnip latkes in addition to regular potato ones (my family's recipe is almost identical to Grandma H's) and I'll post the recipe once I perfect it.

Anonymous said...

Also, I do agree an authentic latke recipe must have matza meal in it. However, I've used other flours as binders (since I can't eat matza due to celiac disease) and had no problem. Brown rice flour, white rice flour, potato starch or corn starch all work

Anonymous said...

I don't care how they make the latkes as long as they are hot, oily and (at least partially) crunchy! Have fun!

Nosher said...

Just trust and try them. You won't be disappointed.

of NYCnosh

harley said...

When I was in Australia, my Korean cohorts asked me to make "Jewish food" on my night to cook, so I made latkes. They went crazy for them. Apparently, there's a Korean food, Kamja-chun, which are basically latkes, but they said that mine were the best they ever had. I use potatoes, onions, eggs, and flour (and of course salt and pepper), but I have no idea how much of each. Also, I pealed potatoes for an hour and made nearly 40 latkes for the 5 of us. I was very popular that night.

Marisa said...

The sweet potato latkes are way too sweet if you want to eat more than 2 or 3... but if you just add a couple of sweet potatoes to the dozen you're already grating, it adds a little bit of sweetness that's not overwhelming. Yummy!

Anonymous said...

I use flour, not matzah meal. But I did have some delicious latks on Sunday that also incorporated sour cream. The latke-maker grated the potatoes very thickly, which I thought I wouldn't like as much (not like mom's!!), but they were super.

The best book about latkes is called "Latkes Latkes all around," but it's apparently out of print. Not to be confused with "Latkes, Latkes, Good to Eat," which is also good but not the best.

AnnieGetYour said...

Anon- there is actually a children's book about the perfect latke recipe. In some eastern european town a woman has a fabulous recipe and they taste "like clouds" and all the other women want to make them that way, but refuse to use the right recipe, so they don't turn out right.

If only I could remember the name.

Renegade Kosher said...

Wow... That casserole seems to be super popular, & has been spreading around the net! Thanks for the link, and I hope you liked it!

SarahReznor said...

Hi! Just realized you linked me for the recipe :) very cool! thanks!

Anonymous said...

Annie, I came to this page while searching for that same book. I found it! The title is "Malke's Secret Recipe"