Anna Blume

Latkes

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How are all the latke makers preparing them?

I made a few last night, using a minimalist recipe that calls for egg, but no other binder. You just squeeze the liquid out of the hand-grated Russets and minced onion, then mix in a beaten egg and a little salt before frying.

I ended up adding a small amount of dry bread crumbs since the first couple of pancakes were a bit too fragile and water was starting to collect in the bottom of my bowl. Actually, I started out by adding a tablespoon of dried, unsweetened coconut from an unlabeled bag sad.gif --the aroma quickly alerted me to the error and it was easy to scoop out the corrupted mixture and replace it with Panko.

Fried them in olive oil, of course. Applesauce made w reduced cider. Thickened yogurt instead of sour cream.

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How are all the latke makers preparing them?

I made a few last night, using a minimalist recipe that calls for egg, but no other binder. You just squeeze the liquid out of the hand-grated Russets and minced onion, then mix in a beaten egg and a little salt before frying.

I ended up adding a small amount of dry bread crumbs since the first couple of pancakes were a bit too fragile and water was starting to collect in the bottom of my bowl. Actually, I started out by adding a tablespoon of dried, unsweetened coconut from an unlabeled bag :( --the aroma quickly alerted me to the error and it was easy to scoop out the corrupted mixture and replace it with Panko.

Fried them in olive oil, of course. Applesauce made w reduced cider. Thickened yogurt instead of sour cream.

My family's recipe is uber simple:

7 or 8 potatoes

3 Tbsp of flour

1.5 tsp of salt

1 tsp of baking soda

cinnamon & sugar to taste

2 eggs

grate up the potatoes - press out the water - mix up everything in a big bowl - let it sit for a few minutes while the oil heats up - do a final squeeze per handful just before you put it in the pan so it doesn't scald you - and voila. We had semi-heated debate on applesauce v. sour cream. I personally put a dollop of sour cream on, cover it with a larger spoonful of applesauce & sprinkle a bit of cinnamon & sugar on top. YUM!

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How are all the latke makers preparing them?

Grandma's Best Latkes Ever

Serves 3 as a side dish

[last night I doubled this recipe for me, my wife, and the kids, and we had very very few leftover latkes. admittedly, the kids decided this was their main course...]

3 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and cut roughly into 1" pieces

1/2 medium onion, quartered

2 eggs

2 Tbsp flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

Place onion, eggs, dry ingredients, and small handful of potato in a blender. Pulse briefly on a low setting, just until all of the potatoes and onions have run through the blades. Add the rest of the potatoes to the blender, and pulse on a medium setting, again just until the potatoes have run through the blades. I keep the top off and use a rubber spatula to feed the potatoes into the blades. DO NOT OVERBLEND. You should still have some smallish potato chunks in the blender, and the consistency should be like oatmeal. You may land up with a little bit of liquid in the blender; when you spoon the potato mixture to the frying pan, try to leave most of the liquid behind.

Fry in a good amount of vegetable oil over medium heat - maybe 1/4 inch deep. I use a small ladle to lay the batter in the pan, and can fit 3-4 latkes in a medium-size frying pan. If you like extra crispy latkes, press down on the latke with the back of the ladle when you first lay the batter in, so it becomes very thin. This way you can get them thin and crispy without blackening! Cook until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side.

When they come out of the pan, lay them on brown paper bags to soak up the excess oil. You can keep them warm in an oven on low temperature if you are making multiple batches. I had 4 frying pans running on my cooktop last night, and still needed 3 batches to go through my doubled recipe (we make them very thin in my family).

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Mel & Daniel: Thanks! It's interesting that you both use flour and baking soda. The traditional recipes this cultural interloper has seen either omit any flour-based ingredient (and some, egg for that matter) or call for matzoh meal. Thus, my Panko. I wonder if the soda lightens the mixture at all.

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Mel & Daniel: Thanks! It's interesting that you both use flour and baking soda. The traditional recipes this cultural interloper has seen either omit any flour-based ingredient (and some, egg for that matter) or call for matzoh meal. Thus, my Panko. I wonder if the soda lightens the mixture at all.
It seems then that you found recipes for latkes made at Passover when no leavening and no flour ingredients are used... By the way, in D.H. Hwang's new play "Yellowface" he uses Cultural Tourist, which is a better term than interloper! :-)

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The recipe I use calls for potatoes that are shredded, squeezed in a towel to remove excess liquid--then about 2/3 of those are pureed in a blender with onion, eggs, a small amount of matzo meal and some baking powder (and salt). Then the remaining shredded potato is mixed into the batter. This gives them better texture than a totally blended batter, but they hold together better than a completely shredded mixture. I tend to use peanut or grapeseed oil when frying if I want something really crispy, because those oils have a higher smoke point.

My family eats them with sour cream and applesauce, but since I am allergic to apples, I have cranberry sauce instead, which actually is very nice.

I had some leftover latkes, and reheated them a couple of days later in a frying pan, and served them with braised short ribs. Without the sour cream and fruit, they were an excellent medium for conveying the winy braising sauce.

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The recipe I use calls for potatoes that are shredded, squeezed in a towel to remove excess liquid--then about 2/3 of those are pureed in a blender with onion, eggs, a small amount of matzo meal and some baking powder (and salt). Then the remaining shredded potato is mixed into the batter. This gives them better texture than a totally blended batter, but they hold together better than a completely shredded mixture. I tend to use peanut or grapeseed oil when frying if I want something really crispy, because those oils have a higher smoke point.

My family eats them with sour cream and applesauce, but since I am allergic to apples, I have cranberry sauce instead, which actually is very nice.

I had some leftover latkes, and reheated them a couple of days later in a frying pan, and served them with braised short ribs. Without the sour cream and fruit, they were an excellent medium for conveying the winy braising sauce.

Many people do not realize that latkes have the ability to divide families: blended v. shredded, apple sauce v. sour cream, and latkahs or latkees.

I :( The LeeVees

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Here's another twist: egg vs. no egg. My mother-in-law was horrified when I suggested adding an egg to the potato mixture to lend body and cohesion. "You don't put eggs in latkes" was her firm pronouncement.

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Here's another twist: egg vs. no egg. My mother-in-law was horrified when I suggested adding an egg to the potato mixture to lend body and cohesion. "You don't put eggs in latkes" was her firm pronouncement.

I'm afraid your MIL is mistaken. You ought to show her a recipe from Joan Nathan, who is the ultimate authority on Jewish food in America. Her recent latke recipe in the New York Times calls for eggs.

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I'm afraid your MIL is mistaken. You ought to show her a recipe from Joan Nathan, who is the ultimate authority on Jewish food in America. Her recent latke recipe in the New York Times calls for eggs.
Or simply Of a Different School.

I've also consulted recipes that call for grated potatoes, a little salt and olive oil. Mark Bittman, who mind you, calls for butter or canola oil, publishes one recipe of that nature that he refers to as "purist".

My matzoh-flour version, by the way, is from Molly O'Neill's New York Cookbook, a recipe from David Firestone "'The Latke King'" who also adds parsley at his then-annual party for Chanukah in Queens.

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Or simply Of a Different School.

I've also consulted recipes that call for grated potatoes, a little salt and olive oil. Mark Bittman, who mind you, calls for butter or canola oil, publishes one recipe of that nature that he refers to as "purist".

My matzoh-flour version, by the way, is from Molly O'Neill's New York Cookbook, a recipe from David Firestone "'The Latke King'" who also adds parsley at his then-annual party for Chanukah in Queens.

I've seen recipes for sweet potato latkes, too. And ones with zucchini in them. I could be mistaken, but since potato pancakes are eaten all over Mittle-Europe, there are numerous non-Jewish versions that are made without onion, without eggs and which are made with wheat flour rather than matzo meal as a binder. As Joan Nathan described in her article, fried foods were always eaten by the Jews during Chanukah, but prior to the migration into Eastern Europe, they were made with cheese fried in olive oil. Since the primary cooking fat available in Eastern Europe was chicken, duck or goose fat, fried cheese was no longer an option--it wouldn't be kosher. One wonders what was used prior to the introduction of the potato into Europe during the 1500's. Probably barley or buckwheat. Or maybe turnip.

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It's interesting to review this thread, one year later. I made a small batch of latkes last night for the three of us--four large Yukon gold and one small sweet potato, which yielded 16 latkes. We had two left over. I used my typical method of shredding and squeezing the liquid out of the potatoes and then taking about half and blending them with 1/4 of a medium onion, three eggs, salt and since I noticed too late that I didn't have any matzo meal, I used cracker meal--about 1/3 of a cup. I fried them in a mixture of corn, peanut and grapeseed oil and they were nice and crisp on the outside and fluffy inside. I realized while we were eating that I had neglected to put any baking powder in the mixture. But it wasn't missed. My family are traditionalists, and eyebrows were raised when I told them that I had included a small sweet potato ("Why on earth did you do THAT?"). But there were only expressions of enjoyment as they were consumed and I was forgiven my forsaking of latke orthodoxy.

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My family are traditionalists, and eyebrows were raised when I told them that I had included a small sweet potato ("Why on earth did you do THAT?"). But there were only expressions of enjoyment as they were consumed and I was forgiven my forsaking of latke orthodoxy.
What would happen were you to coat them in Belgian dark chocolate and sprinkle kosher salt on top?

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What would happen were you to coat them in Belgian dark chocolate and sprinkle kosher salt on top?

Let's see, hot salted latkes covered in warm chocolate sauce... I'd try that. Not sure I'd like cold chocolate-covered latkes, though.

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I grew up with blender latkes after I learned to make them myself in 5th grade. Before then, they came from a packaged mix from the Kosher section, one of my mother's few real failings as a cook.

We tried the Frankenstein Latke recipe in last week's Washington Post, which called for grated parsnips, parboiling waxy red potatoes, and using the oven to bake the latkes in a small amount of oil.

The verdict: Oven frying sucks. Pan frying is faster and produces better results. The parsnips were very hard to detect in the finished product. We omitted them from the batch we made for the chowpup's Sunday school class. We really liked the results from parboiling the potatoes, which eliminated the crispy outside, undercooked inside problem I typically have with grated latkes.

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I've definitely contemplated hosting dr.com potlucks chez moi. And my annual Chanukah Latkefest (provided GULC's schedule cooperates) will be open to all. :(

We need a Latke-Hamantash debate!!

Or maybe a latke cookoff? My bubbe's recipe is carefully guarded. I think blood and skin from ricing the potatoes is probably a key ingredient...

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Or maybe a latke cookoff? My bubbe's recipe is carefully guarded. I think blood and skin from ricing the potatoes is probably a key ingredient...

RICING?! Not shredding? Lacy is *key* to the latke.

Oh yes. A latke cookoff is ON.

:(

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RICING?! Not shredding? Lacy is *key* to the latke.

Oh yes. A latke cookoff is ON.

:(

Sorry, brain fart. Shredded indeed, hence the scraped knuckles.

We actually also have a family shortcut recipe that involves a blender instead.

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We actually also have a family shortcut recipe that involves a blender instead.

My family's shortcut recipe switched from the blender to the food processor, sometime in the late seventies or early eighties, when they first became popular. The advantage of the f.p.over the blender, is that rather than simply pureeing all of the potatoes, as the previous blender method had, the family f.p. recipe has the f.p. fitted with the shredding blade and the potatoes are shredded, put into a towel and squeezed to remove some of the water in the potatoes. Then part of the shredded potatoes (about 1/3) are pureed with the onion, egg, baking powder, salt and matzo meal,. The shredded 2/3 are mixed with the 1/3 puree. Then the cooking begins. Where in the 1950's the blender was considered a great improvement over the hand grating of the past, this 1/3-2/3 food processor method produces a latke with a much more pleasing texture and mouthfeel. Not to mention the scraped knuckles that are avoided.

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We cut the pieces small before feeding them to the blender, and only pulse until mixed. Still chunks and no puree. And still strain the liquid.

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I'm convinced the shredding blade was created just for latke-making purposes -- I love it.

My family's shortcut recipe switched from the blender to the food processor, sometime in the late seventies or early eighties, when they first became popular. The advantage of the f.p.over the blender, is that rather than simply pureeing all of the potatoes, as the previous blender method had, the family f.p. recipe has the f.p. fitted with the shredding blade and the potatoes are shredded, put into a towel and squeezed to remove some of the water in the potatoes. Then part of the shredded potatoes (about 1/3) are pureed with the onion, egg, baking powder, salt and matzo meal,. The shredded 2/3 are mixed with the 1/3 puree. Then the cooking begins. Where in the 1950's the blender was considered a great improvement over the hand grating of the past, this 1/3-2/3 food processor method produces a latke with a much more pleasing texture and mouthfeel. Not to mention the scraped knuckles that are avoided.

This is incredibly similar to my recipe -- grandma's, of course -- although we leave the potatoes pretty much all in shreds (no puree, but maybe I should try that). Grandma's doesn't call for baking powder, and she often subbed regular AP flour for matzo meal.

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