Hanukkah: Potato Latkes


While I like to say Hanukkah is my kids’ favorite Jewish holiday, I’ve never really admitted it’s mine too.

I truly enjoy turning out the lights after dinner to light the candles of the menorah and to sing the festive holiday songs.  Not surprisingly, my kids adore the holiday for the gift-giving.  We aspire to give a little gift every night.

For another year in a row, I was hell-bent on making Latkes from scratch.  After all, I was stocked with the necessary ingredients (even some Matzoh meal leftovers from last Passover) and I was eager to start shredding the potatoes.

This recipe is so easy and takes very little culinary skill.  But, there are just a few additional suggestions I’d make (now that I’m a conditioned Latke maker):

Make sure you place your shredded potato pieces in a sieve and press against the potato to adequately drain the excess water before you mix it with the eggs and other ingredients.

Potato Shreds…

Make sure your skillet is sufficiently hot, with the right amount of oil coating the bottom before dropping in the spoonfuls of potato mixture.  Gently press the potato down and let it brown around 2-3 minutes on each side.

Some Latke recipes might have you lightly brown the potato pancakes in the skillet and then transfer them to the oven for a couple minutes of baking to achieve a nice fluffy center.

Potatoes pancakes cooking on the skillet


My Latkes were crispy and somewhat flattened—exactly how I remembered eating them as a kid.

Lastly, make sure you place your newly-cooked Latkes on a paper towel with which you’ll pat out all the grease.  While the oil is necessary to get your potatoes properly fried on the outside, if they’re too greasy, guaranteed you won’t even get through one whole pancake.

And, don’t be alarmed, Potato Latkes never look pretty.  In fact, they always look like a non-descript pancakes with irregular shapes. But, rest assured, with a little bit of salt to taste, some fresh apple sauce or perfectly chilled sour cream, you’ll enjoy each bite!

My kids gave the Latkes 1 ½ thumbs up.  My son couldn’t figure out whether he was to eat the Latke with his hands like a bagel, or cut into them.

Both kids preferred them hot, right off the skillet, and requested more salt and applesauce.  Neither tried the sour cream option.

In general, Potato Latkes tend to be bland, so don’t be shy.  Spruce them up with salt, pepper, and nice heaping spoonfuls of fresh apple sauce or sour cream as toppings too.




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