Bubbe’s Latkes, Hanukkah Nosh
A latke is a fried potato pancake and is a symbolic and delicious fare enjoyed at Hanukkah. Our family enjoys making latkes together! We love to top the freshly fried treats with apple sauce and sour cream. The ideal latke is plump and creamy on the inside and crisp and lacy on the outside. Please enjoy the recipe below and let us know if you make it!
This year, Hanukkah begins on Sunday December 18 and will continue through Sunday December 26. Our children (and we!) have the best of both worlds as they celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas!
As a young family particularly, Hanukkah was filled with stories, scrumptious nosh, and eight nights of menorah-lighting followed by opening presents. On each of the eight nights of Hanukkah, one of our children would use the shamash, the servant candle, to light the others in the hanukkiah while we recited traditional Hanukkah prayers. Our menorah was placed in the window for all to see. Before we opened presents, we would read scripture and reflect on our Messiah Jesus, the Light of the World! Then we would open presents, spin the dreidel, and read stories about the Maccabees or watch our children’s favorite holiday video: Hanukkah at Bubbe’s (Bubbe is Yiddish for grandmother)! We also enjoy sufganiyot, pillowy donuts typically filled with jelly. We eat fried foods like latke and sufganiyot to remind us of the miracle that occurred in the Inter-Testamental Period when a one-day supply of oil left for the temple in Jerusalem’s eternal light (ner tamid) lasted eight days. This is why the dreidel has four letters, one on each side that form the acronym of the phrase: Nes gadol hayah sham, “a great miracle happened there” — reminding us of what happened in those ancient days.
- 4 large potatoes – peeled and grated
- 1 medium onion – peeled and grated
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- ½ cup matzo meal*
- 2 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Optional: scallion instead of onion
- Optional: pinch of cream of tartar to prevent darkening while frying
STEP ONE: Hand-shred the potatoes on the coarse side of a four-sided grater or use the grating disk of a food processor. Gather the shreds into a tea towel and squeeze out the liquid until the potatoes are dry. NOTE: the more liquid you drain off, the crisper your latkes will be.
STEP TWO: Put the dried shreds into a second bowl and mix in the onions.
STEP THREE: Fold in salt & pepper plus matzo meal, then add the beaten egg and mix again until fully incorporated.
STEP FOUR: Form round patties using the amount of a large spoon or ice cream scoop.
STEP FIVE: Fry in about ½ cup of oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium heat until golden, about 4-6 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels [optional: place clean paper bags under paper towels for greater absorbency]. Let the oil return to temperature and top off with additional oil, if necessary, before frying the next batch.
SERVE WITH A DOLLOP OF SOUR CREAM AND APPLESAUCE. Other toppings you might like to try: roasted beets + feta cheese; diced pears + bleu cheese; sautéed leeks + dill.
Yield: 8 latkes
*If you’re new to matzo meal, you might try to find it in the International Section of your local grocery store.