So now it is Hanukkah, the Jewish holiday of lights and the miracle of the oil that lasted 8 days. Potato latkes cooked in oil are an enduring Hanukkah tradition and I have been making latkes at home for more than 30 years. That’s a lot of latkes!
Here is my fool-proof gluten free (GF) potato pancake recipe. Part of the secret to crispy, light latkes is to turn them twice to ensure that they are golden brown and well cooked on both sides. They then are drained on paper towels and transferred to an oven rack or toaster oven to retain their crispness on the plate. Quantities can be doubled or tripled; and its great to prepare a larger number of latkes ahead of time so that you can enjoy your Hanukkah guests.
4 medium potatoes, peeled and grated
2 eggs beaten
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 T brown rice flour*
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T onion, finely chopped
vegetable oil, as needed for frying
* any gf flour can be used, or if gluten is not a concern substitute with matzah meal or all purpose flour.
1. Place grated potatoes in a colander over a bowl to drain excess moisture from the potatoes. Use your hands to squeeze as much liquid as possible out of the potatoes.
2. Mix the potatoes with additional Ingredients.
3. Using a non-stick frying pan, heat at least three tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium heat to the point that a small amount of batter starts to form little bubbles when it is added to the pan. Then, use your hands to form latkes and place them carefully in the pan; depending on the size of the latkes and the size of the pan, you should be able to get at least four or more pancakes in the frying pan at any given time.
4. After a few minutes, the bottom side should be starting to brown. Turn them to brown the top. Then, turn a second time to insure a uniformly crisp latke. When golden brown on both sides, remove to drain on paper towels before serving.
A cook’s secret for making perfect latkes for Chanukah parties: To make ahead in larger quantities, preheat the oven to 175 degrees. Spray baking racks (found in the oven), with a generous quantity of non-stick spray. Place a long shallow baking pan at the bottom of the oven, and place drained latkes directly onto the baking racks in a single layer so that air will circulate around them to keep them crisp and warm until serving time.
Serving suggestion: You can’t go wrong with homemade applesauce (see following recipe), or in the alternative slices of apples are also nice – and a lot less work.
The following is the recipe for the best applesauce I have ever had, with thanks to Mrs. Minna Recht of Cherry Hill New Jersey for sharing it. Once you try it, you will really see the difference between applesauce from a jar and homemade.
10 apples, grated*
1/4 Cup water
1 Cup of sugar
1 T ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1. Place grated apples in a pot with 1/4 C of water, and one C of sugar. Bring to a boil, turn to low heat immediately, and add spices.
2. Simmer for 20 minutes or until brown. Chill before serving.
* For best results use a mixture of 2 – 3 apple varieties.