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Appetizers, Mains, Vegetarian

Fresh beet latkes with cumin and coriander

Fresh beet latkes with cumin and coriander
Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times

"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: 45 minutes | Serves 6 (about 12 latkes)
  • 3 pounds beets
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander seed
  • 1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley or cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil, for frying

Step 1Rinse, trim and peel beets, and then shred them on the coarse side of a grater to yield about 8 cups. Place the beets in a strainer or colander set over a bowl, and let stand 10 minutes to drain. Press the beets with a towel to remove any excess moisture, then place in a medium bowl.

Step 2Stir the cumin, coriander, parsley (or cilantro), salt, black pepper and baking powder into the beets, using a wooden spoon. Stir in the eggs, then the flour, and mix well to combine.

Step 3In a large frying pan, heat 5 to 6 tablespoons oil over medium heat until hot. For each latke, drop one-third cup of the beet mixture into the pan, flattening slightly with a spoon. Fry 4 to 5 latkes at a time, about 4 to 5 minutes on each side until deep red throughout and just lightly browned on the outside. 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: Serve the latkes with sour cream or rich yogurt and snipped chives for garnish.

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