Potato Lakes..what is your basic version?

I am always amazed that when Latkes are brought up in conversation, it seems everyone has something to say. Should it be the house smells, to the type of potatoes, thinks eaten alongside,
to your grandmother’s recipe, etc.

For me a course grated blend of simple Idaho and sweets, Spanish onion, eggs, matzo meal, salt & pepper. Into a 350 pan of canola and vegetable oil, nice and crisp…plain and simple…

Lets talk about your basic, and perhaps your “special” versions!

Fry them in schmaltz (chicken fat) - it’s the best!!!


I’ve been using a potato ricer to squeeze water from the grated potatoes. Really helps me improve the texture

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Here’s the version one side of my family uses. The blender (immersion blender makes this so easy) makes these come out puffy rather than lacy hash brown ish, and mixing in the matzoh meal obviates the need to drain all the starch out.

Based on 50 latkes

5 lbs. potatoes-russet or Idaho
matzo meal
Baking powder
3 Eggs
1 medium cut coarsely onion
Garlic powder

Put egg on bottom before putting in potatoes
Put potatoes in blender-on grate
Put in some onion

Repeat process

Mix grated potatoes, salt, garlic powder, baking powder and matzo meal
Should be consistency of thick oatmeal

Taste-not too salty-but need to taste salt
Make sure oil is very hot-test to make sure it bubbles

Using a soup spoon to put latkes in oil
Keep on medium heat – do not let oil smoke-add additional oil as needed to keep pan ½ -3/4 full
Turn only once and drain on paper towels

Make sure to add more matzo meal and not let the mixture get to thin.


THIS: http://www.seriouseats.com/2011/12/how-to-make-latkes-chanukah-hanukkah-recipe-guide.html

The brilliant part of this recipe is squeezing the excess liquid from the potatoes this way:

I line a very large bowl with a few layers of cheese cloth, empty the shredded potatoes from the FP into the lined bowl, gather the corners of the cloth, wrap the corners around the handle of a wooden spoon, and twist. The spoon provides leverage and the potatoes are squeezed almost dry. The liquid is emptied from the bowl, leaving the potato starch behind. The potatoes are put back into the bowl along with lots and LOTS of shredded onions, eggs, salt, pepper and matzoh meal. It all gets mixed, spooned into hot canola oil and fried until crispy, turning once.

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Hyperbowler: The liquid from the potatoes is what you’d want to drain out; the starch that’s removed with the liquid is something you’d want to add back IN. For that reason, I’d be inclined to add the eggs only after the excess liquid has been drained.

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Looking at that photo made me laugh. Last winter, I was doing the “squeeze the living bejeezus out of 'em” technique with a large load of shredded potatoes. I guess the old, flour sack towel I was using for the task was too far past it’s prime. “Twist - Twist - Twist - Riiiiiiipppp - Plop!” Right into the dirty sink drain catcher. I salvaged what I could, but had to finish with way too many paper towels and wound up with “soggier than they shoulda been” cakes.

As to recipe, mine doesn’t differ much from those mentioned, although I use flour instead of matzo meal. That’s what my Polish-Catholic Grandmother did, so that’s what I know. Maybe I’ll try the matzo next time - probably should pick up some cheesecloth first.

I’ve tried flour, and find the mixture to be “gooier” than when using matzoh meal. I’m guessing that matzoh meal wasn’t a staple in your grandmother’s kitchen, as it was in mine. I’m curious – what’s the polish word for latkes?

Well, the old girl called 'em “pancakes”, but placki may be the right Polish word.

…so now I’m wondering if a nut milk bag such as this one can be used for squeezing out the excess liquid. This one measures 12" x 12".

I have tried that method as well as a salad spinner. removing the latent moisture really helps with the crisp control of the latke…

An interesting read on the latke.

So what’s a latke?

It’s a shredded Andean tuber, fried like a buckwheat pancake, which was substituted for Italian cheeses, once eaten to honor a mistaken reading of obscure variants of an apocryphal text.

But it’s crispy, and delicious.

Definitely a good read, but a any good “Jewish” story goes, there are at least 18 possible endings, and much more on how it will end!

It had me at “fried cheese.”

Yes me too, Ricotta at that. What was not a surprise was the frying of everything in Schmaltz, like I did as a kid in my great grandmother’s kitchen… she uses to have a big jar in the fridge of chicken fat, and I wonder today what would happen if I ate a latke fried in chicken fat, served alongside the pot roast and gravy today? (Thank god we have a 24 hour Walgreens a block away to get antacid tablets)
I think I might lay on the couch and extol…“what did I do that for?”

Well as this last night of Chanukah is before us; anybody has something to share about “your Latke experiences” this year?
For me we are going to a New Years Eve Party this year, and I was asked to bring about 36 mini Latkes. Easy enough to make them and freeze them. thinking about doing 3 types, Sweet potato & white potato; white potato & green onion and dill; a zucchini & red onion. I can of course serve along side sour cream and a fruit sauce, but any suggestions for a Parve dipping or toping sauce, that is either sweet (aside from fruit) or savory?

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