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Friday, December 11, 2009

Latkes!

Tonight is the first night of Chanukah, the Jewish festival of lights, 8 days of a fried food extravaganza! This is one of the warped celebrations as far as i am concerned. When the temple is destroyed and most of the population is destroyed, i find it a little difficult to celebrate the fact that the lord let us know he was still present by making one small lamp of oil burn for 8 days. Personally, i would think the big one should have let his preence be known before the rape and pillaging but i see this religion thing differently than some others :)
Nonetheless, great food is great food and fried food always tastes good. And why not fatten up before winter with some fried starch!

The classic latkes (incidentally, Latke is yiddish for pancake) are made from potatos. However, one can easily blend in sweet potatos of various varieties, beets, squash and more. Use your imagination after you get the basic recipe/method together.

Now you need a special piece of equipment and it is hard to find these days, though very cheap. A grater that is a flat rectangle shape and has horizantal and verticle pieces of metal across it, thus leaving small squares that grate the spud. This gives the best latke texture available. If you are Jewish, trust me, your grandma and Aunt Rose (every Jewish person of my age has at least one Aunt Rose and often she was an awesome cook as mine was) had one of these. I came across one a couple years ago at some kitchen supply place and was thrilled.

After you have that, it is easy!

you will need a few ingredients:
oil for frying (HIGH heat oil such as peanut or safflower)
a handful of very good potatos such as kennebecs
a large onion
matzah meal (take some matzah and put it in the food processor till it is a fine meal)
some salt
some pepper

You will notice i am not giving amounts. Well, honestly this is the first ever dish i learned to make and i never learned to measure. As a kid, i made latkes for family a number of times.

Grate your potatos and drain them. Grate the onion into the potatos. Season with salt and pepper.  Add some matzah meal to the mixture. Form pancakes and fry up in hot oil on both sides till brown. Serve hot with applesauce!

or get into some Yiddish japanese fusion and serve with grated daikon, chopped green onions and shoyu as i plan to do tomorrow evening.


ok, now for amounts
3 potatos, large
1 medium onion
1 sheet of matzah
1 tsp salt
lots of freshly cracked black pepper

go for it! God told you to fry em up. Well, i think someone in the talmud said to do so but do you really need an excuse to eat something delightful?

2 comments:

  1. The last latkes I had were in London, so good. I like your Yiddish Japanese fusion idea!

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  2. thank you for the reminder, a very great classic recipe, only to recommend to the fullest. what a wonderful inspirational cook you are! thanks for keeping your site so well stocked with your ideas.
    m

    ReplyDelete