Lasting eight days, Chanukah, also known as the “Festival of Lights”, is a Jewish holiday which commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple (Second Temple) in Jerusalem. At Chanukah, one of the traditions occurring in Jewish homes is the lighting of a candle on a Menorah – a candelabrum – in a prayer at dinnertime. Over the years, I have been invited to my Jewish friends’ homes in order to participate in such a joyous celebration.
A popular side dish served at Chanukah dinners consists of potato pancakes called “latkes”. Latkes are crunchy on the outside and deliciously sweet inside. I finally learned how to make them with an added accent of chives. Serve these latkes as tradition has it – with applesauce and sour cream. Enjoy.
Active prep time: 10 to 15 minutes
Inactive prep time: 4 minutes
Cook time: 16 minutes
Makes: 6 to 7 latkes
1 pound Russet potatoes (approx. one large)
1 small white or brown onion
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
Dash ground black pepper
1 tablespoon all-purpose, unbleached flour
1 to 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup olive oil
8 ounces (1 cup) ready-made applesauce
8 ounces (1 cup) sour cream
1. Peel and grate potato into a large bowl with cold water. Peel and grate the onion into the same bowl; stir in ½ teaspoon of the salt. Let mixture soak 1 to 3 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a 4-quart mixing bowl, beat together the egg, remaining ½ teaspoon of salt, black pepper, flour and chives. Set aside.
3. Drain the potato-onion mixture in a colander, pressing down to remove excess water.
4. Transfer the drained potato-onion mixture to a cheesecloth or clean white kitchen towel; roll up and squeeze out excess water.
5. Stir the potato and chives into the egg mixture and blend with a fork until uniform.
6. Heat both oils in a 12-inch, nonstick skillet until oil is hot but not smoking.
7. Measure ¼-cup potato mixture into hands and form a round, flattish shape.
8. Place the flattened potato mixture in hot oil, pressing down with a spatula to form a 4-inch pancake (latke).
9. Measure and prepare 2 more flattened potato mixtures in skillet and cook 3 to 4 minutes per side, on medium-high heat, until latkes are golden brown.
10. Drain on paper towels on a platter.
11. Serve latkes hot, accompanied by applesauce and sour cream. Latkes usually accompany beef brisket or other roasted meats.
Note: If oil is not hot enough, the latkes will be oily.
Text and Photographs ©2010 Nancy DeLucia Real
Yvonne, you should make these – absolutely scrumptious!
Good tip about the oil. My mom makes a Chinese version of potato pancakes with Chinese mushrooms, chives, shrimp, and bbq pork.
This comment has been removed by the author.
I didn’t know there was a Chinese version! YUM! Latkes/ potato pancakes are among my top 5 all time favorite food items! Now this is a recipe I’ll have to try 🙂
My December 6th comment was deleted by mistake, but it asked JenLi if her Mom would share the Chinese version of potato latkes.
Hi Nancy, I’m Noelle’s sister. She suggested this recipe, and I loved it! I posted my gluten free version of it on the blog I recently started called GFinSF (www.gfinsf.com). Love your blog.
Hey Lauren, thanks. I’m having a blast creating these recipes and writing about them.
Thanks for the inspiration tonight, Nancy! They turned out fantastic. Love the addition of the chives.