Latkes are fried potato pancakes traditionally enjoyed during Hanukkah celebrations. Hanukkah is the Jewish festival of lights observed over a period of eight days by the lighting of candles in the menorah, gift giving, dreidels, music and enjoying delicious meals with family and friends.
Vegans can enjoy this treat too! While there are many latke recipes available, most incorporate shredded potatoes, matzo meal or flour as a binder, eggs (use an egg substitute), onions and your choice of herbs or spices. Moist and flavourful on the inside, crispy on the outside with lacy edges, for those who have never made latkes there are some helpful tips for making these warm and delicious pancakes.
- Large, starchy potatoes are best for making latkes – russets are often recommended as they tend to have a drier texture.
- It is preferable to have all ingredients at room temperature before beginning.
- The potatoes need to be shredded – a food processor is a wonderful time saver, although some latke makers prefer to use hand graters.
- Once your potatoes are shredded, press as much moisture as possible from the flesh to help prevent the hot oil splattering. Using cheesecloth is helpful.
- Chop rather than grate your onions.
- A ¼ cup of the potato mixture is a good average size for a latke.
- Heat the oil well before beginning to fry your latkes so that they won’t stick.
- Cook your latkes in small batches of about 4 or 5 at a time and place on paper towel to remove excess oil prior to serving.
- To avoid soggy latkes, serve immediately with toppings of apple sauce and Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream.
If you’re adventurous, you can experiment with recipes that include such non-traditional ingredients as sweet potatoes, shredded zucchini, spelt flour, and fresh herbs. For those who need a low-fat diet, there are also recipes available for latkes that are baked rather than fried. They won’t be as crispy, but are still tasty.