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Chanukah Lights and Latkes

In many Jewish households, Chanukah lights and latkes are inseparable.
While the traditional potato pancake is easy enough to make, there’s plenty to debate when it comes to the best method.

Back to Chanukah at Home
Purists prefer the more rustic texture that comes with hand grating potatoes on the biggest holes of a box grater (skinned knuckles are a small price to pay, they say), while others opt for the ease of the shredding blade on their food processors. One school of cooks adds flour or matzah meal to the mix to thicken the batter, while others feel that this is an unnecessary addition. And then there’s the potato: All purpose? Baking? Yukon Gold? All will make delicious latkes, so long as you squeeze out the excess moisture from the grated potatoes. And as yummy — and traditional — as latkes made with white potatoes are, there are plenty of other options in the vegetable bin.

In an effort to add some ease and variety to your Chanukah celebration, the Emanu-El Eats cookbook committee has put together these cooking tips and recipes for you...


• To lessen the chance of potatoes turning brown, grate the onion first and have all the other ingredients ready so the grated potatoes aren’t exposed to air any longer than necessary.

• While adding a pinch of baking soda to the potato-onion mixture helps keep the potatoes from turning brown, we prefer a tip we learned long ago from Marlene Sorosky, author of a number of cookbooks, including Fast & Festive Meals for the Jewish Holidays. She advises dissolving a vitamin C tablet in 2 tablespoons of hot water and then stirring this into the shredded potatoes.

• Fry the latkes in very hot oil — either vegetable or olive — and turn them only once. The hotter the oil and the less turning leads to a crisp rather than soggy, oil-laden latke.

• As soon as the first batch of latkes are cooked, drain them on paper towels and then place them on a cookie sheet and keep them warm in a 250 degree F oven while cooking the next batch.


Classic Potato Latkes

Sweet Potato Latkes

Carrot and Parsnip Latkes

Cheesy Zucchini Latkes

Secret Ingredient Applesauce

Download all the recipes and
the cooking tips in one PDF file »
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