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Potato Latkes: The Recipe

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Let’s get this out of the way up front; I’m a shredded potato latke man. Ground up or processed potatoes have their loyal following, but for me, it just doesn’t taste the same. And frankly, fried baby food sounds nasty.

Latkes have a reputation for being messy, time-consuming, and labor-intensive. I have a few tips I’d like to share with you to help you keep your latke-making adventures, quick, clean and simple.

Latkes should be enjoyed at least once during the holiday. They’re not the healthiest, but they’re certainly among the yummiest. As my friend Fred defined them, calories are a unit of measure of flavor.

The hardest part about making latkes is keeping your family’s hands off of them while you’re cooking them.

Potatoes, onions, eggs, flour, salt, pepper; that’s all you need to get started.  This recipe isn’t going to stretch any culinary boundaries of yours, but a few simple tips will help you get the perfect latke every time. Of course, feel free to experiment with seasonings, condiments and frying oils for different ways to spruce them up.

Dry Potato Fry Potato

Drying the Potatoes

Drying out the potatoes means less splatter and faster cooking.

After shredding your potatoes and onions, squeeze them dry. You will reduce splatter, cooking time and disintegration. Splatter comes from superheating (instantly heating it to over boiling, i.e. dropping water in hot oil) the water that comes out of the potato. The reduction in cooking time comes from not having to wait for the moisture to evaporate, which also means less time in the oil. The floating bits of latke that burn in your oil come from pieces breaking off because the moisture prevented the eggs and oil from sticking the potato and onion bits together. And burnt pieces will make the oil taste yucky.

You can use your hands to dry out the potatoes and onions, or if you have a fine mesh strainer, cheesecloth or a small pillowcase, these will be quicker and less messy. Shredded potatoes give off less liquid than their pulped counterparts, but they’ll still give off quite a bit, so don’t be surprised.

Don’t Rush, Don’t Crowd

Frying the Latkes

High heat for a crunch, and room in the pan to cook quickly.

The more you put into the pan at one time, the lower the temperature of the oil is going to drop, and the longer it’s going to take to return to frying temperature. That means the latkes will sit in the oil longer. Spoon the batter for one latke into the pan of hot oil one at a time. Make sure to leave space between them so they cook on all sides, and you have room in the pan to maneuver them. I like using a soup spoon to drop them in, then flatten them out once the batter is in the oil. If the oil is hot enough, and your batter has been dried out properly, it will only take a couple of minutes of cooking per side until the latkes are golden brown, fully cooked and delicious.

Use the Sides

When flipping the latkes, don’t plop the latkes back into the oil. They’ll splatter and that’s messy and dangerous. If you’re using a slant-sided pan, flip them up and outtowards the edge of the pan, and slide them back down into the oil.

latkes

Potato Latkes

Simple classic potato latkes, the perennial Chanukah treat. Shredded, of course.

Prep Time : 15 min Cook Time : 35 min Ready Time : 50 min

Servings

6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1.2 kilograms potatoes shredded and squeezed dry
  • 350 grams onion shredded
  • 4 large eggs
  • 80 grams flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns finely ground

Directions

  1. Heat a large frying pan. Add oil into the pan until it begins to climb the sides of the pan.
  2. Shred potatoes into a bowl.
  3. Shred onion into the potatoes.
  4. Squeeze as much water out of the mixture as you can. Use your hands, cheesecloth or a small pillowcase.
  5. Add eggs, flour, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
  6. Using a soup spoon, carefully drop portions of batter into the hot oil.
  7. Fry 2 1/2 – 3 minutes on one side. Flip and fry 2 – 2 1/2 minutes more.
  8. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.

Note: One serving equals 5-6 latkes

Nutritional Information

Servings Per Recipe: 6 servings Amount Per ServingCalories: 371

  • Total Fat: 16.6g
  • Cholesterol: 109mg
  • Sodium: 1219mg
  • Total Carbs: 47.5g
  • Dietary Fiber: 6.2g
  • Protein: 9.1g
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About the Author: Besides being the webmaster for JewishPress.com, Marc Gottlieb is an accomplished professional chef. His blog, Culinart Kosher is where he provides recipes, answers your questions, and teaches techniques.


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8 Responses to “Potato Latkes: The Recipe”

  1. Arthur B. Levy says:

    SUFGANYOT FOR HANUKKAH. NEVER SAW A LATKE IN MY SEPHARDIC LIFETIME. AM I THE LAST JUDE- ESPANOLE JUDIO TE CUERDO BUMELOS PARA HANNUKAH. LOS DIAS DE LAS LUCES????

  2. Gil Gilman says:

    You can greatly reduce the sodium by leaving out the tablespoon of salt and substituting a spice of your liking.

  3. Rochelle Pudlowski Eissenstat says:

    Having lived in Baltimore, we season our latke mixture with Old Bay Seasoning – 1 tsp. + 1 tsp. salt in place of 1 Tbsp. salt. We add a dash of granulated garlic too. Old Bay is a ubiquitous spice in Jewish Balt. It enhances any potato dish, including latkes or kugel.

  4. Old Bay!!!!??? Brilliant idea.

  5. Rochelle Pudlowski Eissenstat says:

    There is a joke re Baltimoreans – how can you tell someone is from Ballmer? they call everyone Hon & they put Old Bay on everything!

  6. Gil Gilman says:

    Doesn't that already have salt + msg in it?

  7. Rochelle Pudlowski Eissenstat says:

    NO MSG in it!!!! The sodium is 160 mg in 1/4 t. of Old Bay while 1/4 t. of salt has 600 mg. So that is significantly less than seasoning with salt. And there is a Low Salt Old Bay with 0.95 mg sodium per 1/4 t.

  8. Rochelle Pudlowski Eissenstat says:

    Sorry that should be 95 mg sodium in Low Salt Old Bay.

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Let’s get this out of the way up front; I’m a shredded potato latke man. Ground up or processed potatoes have their loyal following, but for me, it just doesn’t taste the same. And frankly, fried baby food sounds nasty. Latkes have a reputation for being messy, time-consuming, and labor-intensive. I have a few tips […]

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