LatkesLatkes are essentially potato pancakes that have roots in Jewish Hanukkah celebrations, though they are not specifically of Jewish origin. It is believed latkes are eaten during Hanukkah because they are cooked in oil. From what I understand, the tradition of eating fried foods during this time is a celebration of the oil that miraculously burned in the Menorah for eight days and nights when there was only enough supply for one night.

There are many different varieties of potato pancakes over the world, including versions from Hungary, Poland, Sweden, and Australia. The majority of them have many similarities, resembling the traditional American “Hash brown patty”.

Find below a recipe for latkes with my own tweaking. They are by no means traditional to any particular culture, they are just the way I like to eat them. I hope you will too.

Latkes

3 – 4 Russet potatoes
1 small onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. sea salt
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
vegetable or canola oil

Put enough oil into a skillet so there is approximately 1/8″ of oil in the bottom. Turn on element to med-high heat.

Peel and grate onions and potatoes. Try really hard not to grate off the end of your thumb like I did. Note to self: invest in a good mandolin. Drain the onion and potatoes, ensuring as much liquid as possible has been excised. I found the easiest way to do this was with washed hands of course, is to take the grated onion and potato in my fist, squeezing and extracting as much of the liquid out as possible.

Put grated potatoes, onions, garlic, eggs, salt, and flour into a bowl, and combine. Ensure the oil is hot, then pour a bit of the mixture into the oil until you have reached the size of the pancake you wish to make. Fry the pancake on the one side until the bottom is golden and the edges have started to brown. Flip over, and finish cooking on the other size. Remove from oil, and place on a warming platter until all batter has been used.

Latkes, or potato pancakes are quick and easy to make as a quick side dish, or light dinner on your own. I wouldn’t recommend eating them every night, but once in a while, they are a tasty treat. They are exceptional topped with sour cream or apple sauce.

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