Potato pancakes, also known as latkes, are a staple in every Jewish home whenever Hanukkah comes around. They are delicious for everyone else all year round too! Potato pancakes make a filling brunch, lunch, or meatless dinner. They are a great new way to enjoy potatoes as if we need another way to make that vegetable more scrumptious.
About the Recipe
Traditional latkes made for Hanukkah are typically fried. Fried foods are meant to symbolize the miracle of oil that occurred in the Jewish temple thousands of years ago. One small jug of oil kept the temple’s candelabra, more commonly known as the menorah, fully lit for eight days straight. In that vein, the following recipes are also fried in oil.
The first recipe is an original twist on the usually just-potatoes recipe. Here they are accompanied by another vegetable, zucchini, butternut squash, or carrots. Take your pick based on personal preference or whatever happens to be in your kitchen. Top that with a healthy cup of grated cheese to round out this delicious treat.
This recipe is very versatile and you’re encourage to spice it up any way you’d like. This is definitely a once-in-a-while treat due to it being fried, but it’s the perfect comfort food. You just can’t go wrong with potatoes and cheese being fried.
There’s also a second recipe provided, the more traditional take on potato pancakes. In that one, there’s no cheese—so it’s much more preferable to those sensitive to dairy. Also there’s no additional vegetable. There’s just pure potato goodness, as latkes were originally intended. There’s just a bit of starch added to bind it all together, and an egg.
*If you’re a vegan or have an allergy to eggs, you can try adding more starch to keep the batter together, or use this recipe from I Love Vegan.
Veggie Cheddar Potato Pancakes
Recipe by Chris Dalziel from Joybilee Farm
- 5 medium potatoes, (Yukon gold) washed and grated (not peeled)
- 1 cup of zucchini, grated (butternut squash or carrots also works)
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten (*for vegans, see above note)
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
- ½ tsp. Himalayan salt
- Coconut oil for frying
- Coarsely grate the potatoes. Place them in a colander and rinse them under cold water until the water runs clear. This rinses all of the starch out of the potatoes. Allow them to drain, or if you are in a rush, squeeze the grated potatoes until no more liquid easily comes out of the potatoes. Place the drained potatoes in a bowl.
- Add the grated squash or carrots, onions, and eggs. Mix well. Add the cheese and salt. Mix again. The mixture should no longer be dripping with liquid and should hold together when squeezed.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. (You don’t need a lot of oil, just enough to brown the potatoes on each side.)
- Once the oil is hot enough to make a few drops of water singe on its surface, drop a spoonful of the potato batter in the frying pan. Press each round of potatoes with the bottom of a spatula or fork to flatten the potato pancakes into desired thickness. Fry on one side till golden brown. Flip the potato pancakes and fry until the other side until golden brown.
- Note of caution: Be careful of the sizzling oil. It could cause a nasty burn, so take care as you drop the batter into the pan.
- Drain the potato pancakes on a wire rack placed over a baking sheet in a warm oven. This will keep the latkes warm and crispy until it’s time to eat.
- Add additional oil to the frying pan, 1 tablespoon at a time, between frying the potato pancakes. Always allow the oil to sizzling hot before adding new batch of potato pancakes to the pan.
Classic Potato Pancakes
- 4 large potatoes
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 egg, beaten (*for vegans, see above note)
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose tapioca starch
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ground black pepper to taste
- Oil for frying
- Finely grate potatoes with onion into a large bowl. Drain off any excess liquid by squeezing the grated potatoes with paper towels.
- Mix in the beaten egg, salt, and black pepper. Add the starch, adding more if needed to make mixture thick enough to hold when placed in a pan.
- Turn oven to low, about 200 degrees F (95 degrees C).
- Heat about 1/4-inch oil in the bottom of a heavy skillet over medium high heat. Drop two or three 1/4 cup mounds of the potato batter into hot oil, and flatten to make it about 1/2-inch-thick pancakes. Fry, turning once, until both sides are golden brown.
- Transfer the potato pancakes to paper towel lined plates to drain, and keep warm in low oven until serving time. Repeat until all potato mixture is used.
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