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Appetizers, Sides, Vegetarian

Classic potato latkes

"What makes a potato pancake a latke?" my younger daughter asked me last week, just before the eight-day Jewish festival of Hanukkah, which begins this year on Sunday evening (all Jewish holidays begin at sundown the day before). A latke, ... Read more

Total time: 50 minutes | Serves 8 to 12 (makes 2 to 2 1/2 dozen latkes)
  • 2 pounds boiling potatoes, peeled
  • 2 large onions (1 pound), halved crosswise
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup matzo meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or olive oil, or a blend of the two, divided

Step 1Grate the potatoes on the medium or fine side of a grater and place in a fine wire-mesh strainer suspended over a bowl. Grate the onion on the medium side of the grater and place in a separate strainer. Let both stand 10 minutes to drain. Press down gently to extract as much moisture as possible.

Step 2Transfer the potatoes to a bowl, add the grated onion, beaten eggs and seasonings, and mix well. Fold in the matzo meal. Let stand for 10 minutes, while heating one-fourth cup oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.

Step 3Scoop up one heaping tablespoon of the mixture and place it in the hot oil. Press down gently with the back of a spoon to flatten and form the latke. Repeat to form 4 to 5 latkes, depending on the size of pan, leaving space between them to facilitate turning.

Step 4Fry on medium heat until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the latkes to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat until all of the latkes are cooked, adding additional oil as necessary for frying. Serve warm.

Note: Adapted from "The Essential Book of Jewish Festival Cooking" by Phyllis Glazer with Miriyam Glazer.
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