The Festival of Lights. Traditional songs, spinning tops and chocolate coins, candles in the menorah flickering while we wait for the first platter of hot latkehs, our home-made Hanukkah treat. Latkehs! What is it with latkehs? They’re brown, they’re fried, they’re potatoey and oniony and when you fry them, you have to open all the windows. And you can’t resist raising the calorie count even more with toppings of sour cream and applesauce.
Well, they are delicious. Plump and tender on the inside, crisp at the edges. The subtle contrast of sour cream and sweet applesauce on top of robust potato and onion…oy. A hot latkeh is like mother love. We’ll go on a diet tomorrow.
Traditional Potato Pancakes (Latkehs)
Yield: 25-30 latkehs, made in the food processor Or hand-grated
6 large potatoes: 1.600 kg.
4 large onions
1 cup flour and 1 Tblsp. baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
Oil for shallow frying
1. Cut the potatoes into chunks that will fit into the tube of your food processor. Or hand-grate them. You don’t have to peel the potatoes, just scrub them well and go over them with a knife to remove anything undesirable.
2. In food processor: grate the potatoes with the fine-grating disk.
3. Dump the grated mass into a colander and rinse briefly to avoid discoloration. Allow to drain while everything else is being prepared.
4. Rinse the food processor; fit the knife in.
5. Peel and quarter the onions; puree them in the food processor. Or grate them. (Recommended: wear safety goggles.)
6. Add the eggs to the pureed onions; blend them for a few seconds.
7. Add the salt, pepper, flour, and baking powder to the contents of the food processor. Whirl till all is smooth. Or Beat the dry ingredients into the onion/egg mixture.
8. Start heating the oil in the frying pan; about 2 tablespoons. It needs to be renewed once in a while.
9. Put the grated potatoes in a big bowl and mix the floury batter into that. The mixture will get watery as the potatoes start releasing juice on contact with the salt.
10. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, turn out little hills of raw latkeh batter into the hot oil. This works better than using cooking spoons. Flatten out the tops a little. Fry till the first side is brown; gently flip over with a spatula and fry till the other side is brown too. Taste the first one or two to determine what color the latkehs have to be when they’re done.
Drain on paper towels. Serve hot.
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