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Luck Be a Latke

A few years ago, I had a boyfriend who was Jewish. I was lucky enough to spend a few holidays with his family and to learn about traditions–food and otherwise–that I didn’t know much about previously.

It probably won’t surprise you that I became obsessed with latkes, or potato pancakes. The boy’s father was in charge of making them every year, and it was a process. He would grate piles of potatoes (I think he grated the onions too, could this be correct?) before squeezing them out thoroughly, mixing them (with his hands) with egg and flour, and dropping them into a sizzling skillet to fry. When they were golden brown on each side, they were done. The boy and his dad liked both sour cream and applesauce on top, but I preferred only sour cream. Those onions and the frying stink up your room and clothes for hours, but those latkes…they were worth it.

Whew. Done with that memory, but Hanukkah is coming up on Sunday, and I’m wondering how Dishers make their latkes. I was playing around on epicurious.com and found several variations, including this one, for Indian potato pancakes with lime-curry sauce. I’ve seen them at Central Market, but wondered how good they would be with so much time in between skillet and plate. If you’ve got tips, send them along, or if you know where to get good latkes, let me know. I’m not sure I’m up for making them but I definitely want to eat them.

7 comments on “Luck Be a Latke

  1. Good place to get latkes? Nikki’s mom’s house. Also makes good blintzes. And Nikki makes amazing matzoh ball soup–and it’s vegetarian.

  2. Go for the basics – grated potatoes & onions, S & P, baking powder and eggs. Fry till very brown in veggie oil – can be frozen on cookie sheets and reheated at 350 to crisp them up. As they say on Top Chef, enjoy!

  3. Pretty much like your old bf’s dad did it is right. Joy of Cooking has the recipe. I have been meaning to try frying them in duck fat or chicken fat. The carryout ones would probably be okay if you warmed them up by refrying them, but then you almost might as well just make them, especially since they are probably charging like eight bucks a pound.

  4. I emailed my old coworker in Brooklyn for these and they are about as authentic as you can get:
    First peel the potatoes and the onions. I would say about 6 medium potatoes and about 2 medium onions. Grate them in a food processor. When you finish that put in back in the processor with the blade and puree them with two eggs. Take it out, put in a bowl and add about a half of a cup of flour and about 1 and a half tsps. salt. Mix it all together and spoon in hot oil until they are brown, then turn them over until both sides are golden brown. It’s delicious with applesauce or if you dare sour cream (which is the way I like it.) The trick is consistency. Make sure it’s not too thick or too thin. Think oatmeal. That is the benchmark I would use to determine if the consistency is right.