While December is full of the Christmas spirit, the holiday of Hannukah also typically takes places in December and is a Jewish festival that involves the commemoration of a victory of rebel soldiers and a miracle involving the burning of oil. It might sound pretty unremarkable considering Hannukah doesn’t really have a match to the excitement of a white-haired, red-nosed stranger sliding down a chimney, but Hannukah is a celebration filled with rituals, traditions and lots of fried food.
Like most Jewish holidays, Hannukah is centred around the dinner table. A Hannukah meal typically compromises of brisket, kugel (a sweet, pasta-based dessert), sufiyanots (doughnuts) and chocolate gelt (money). The most famous element of the meal is the latkes, oil crisped fritters that are made from potatoes and onions and have become a staple in the Jewish celebration of Hannukah.
Essentially potato pancakes, these can be enjoyed with applesauce, ketchup or sour cream (an acquired taste) but are delicious on their own. My family makes their latkes by creating a batter using a blender, but a grater will also do the trick.
What you will need:
- Baking Potatoes
- White Onions
- Baking Powder
- Vegetable Oil (or rapeseed oil, for those high-brow latkes)
1. Place a large, flat pan over heat and cover the surface with a good layer of vegetable oil. Ensure the oil is hot before placing the mixture into the pan.
2. Peel two baking potatoes and slice half an onion. If you’re using a blender, chop the potatoes and onion into small chunk sized pieces to ensure that the blades can sufficiently break them down. If using a grater, grate the onion and baking potatoes into one pile and place into a bowl.
3. To the potatoes and onion mixture, add two teaspoons of baking powder and a tablespoon of flour.
4. Finish the mixture with one egg and a pinch of salt.
5. Mix the ingredients together to form a batter.
6. Once complete, take a spoonful of the batter and place it into the pan filled with hot oil. Ensure that the latkes are not crammed together as they need room to form a nice crunchy outside.
7. Have each side of the latke fry for around two minutes, or until you start to see browning on the edges.
Once in the oil, the latkes are quick to fry and it is easy to get into a roll of making them. Latkes are crispy, easy to make and really, anything fried in oil is going to be good.
Image: Lydia Willcocks