Friday, December 10, 2010

Latkes for Everyone

Hanukkah began at sunset Dec. 1 and ended Dec. 9. Every year, the date changes slightly. According to, Hanukkah (sometimes spelled Chanukah) is a Jewish holiday also known as the Festival of Lights, commemorating Israel's freedom from the oppressive Syrian-Greek rule and the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 164 B.C.

Hanukkah is celebrated mostly in the home. Each night, families light menorahs, play dreidel (played with a spinning top) and sing songs. Presents are given, under the influence of Christmas.

And, yes, food is a big part of Jewish customs during Hanukkah. In particular, Jews eat deep-fried foods to commemorate the miracle of Hanukkah, in which a cruse of oil lasted for eight days instead of the usual one. Potato latkes are the most famous Hanukkah traditional food, usually served with a slow-roasted brisket.

I stumbled onto potato latkes years ago and absolutely love them. As Christians, I think it’s important that we understand Jewish customs and traditions. Food is a great way to connect with our Jewish brethren.

Here is a simple potato latkes recipe. Last week, I made them for my family, along with braised brisket for dinner. We all loved the dinner, shared in a family atmosphere.

Potato Latkes

Prep time: 15 minutes; cooking time: 15 minutes.

Recipe yield: 10 to 12 latkes


3 cups peeled and shredded potatoes (3-4 whole potatoes)

¼ onion grated

1 clove garlic, minced

2 eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup vegetable oil for frying

2 tsp. chopped green onion for garnish


Place the potatoes in a cheesecloth and wring, extracting as much moisture as possible.

In a medium bowl stir the potatoes, onion, eggs, flour and salt together.

In a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until hot. Place large spoonfuls of the potato mixture into the hot oil, pressing down on them to form ¼- to ½-inch thick patties. Brown on one side, turn and brown on the other. Let drain on paper towels.

Serve hot, with applesauce (preferably homemade) or sour cream and sprinkle with chopped green onions!

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