Potato Latkes

With Hanukkah well underway, I got into the holiday spirit by making traditional Potato Latkes for our family dinner Sunday night. The last time I fried up some potato pancakes for the holiday, I was in college. At that point, I used pre-shredded bagged potatoes. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I decided that I was going to do it all, or not at all. In hind sight, the bagged potatoes wouldn’t have been such a bad idea…

First, I pulled out the instruction manual for my food processor to learn how to use the shredding attachment. I shredded 4 large potatoes and half an onion, and then I squeezed the liquid out of the potatoes using cheese cloth. I squeezed until I could squeeze any more. Potatoes release so much water, so it is important all the liquid it drained before assembly the latkes.

After mixing the potatoes, onion, egg, flour, salt, and pepper, I realized I was out of baking power. I called my mother-in-law to tell her I was going to have to borrow her baking powder, and fry the latkes at her house. Meanwhile, I noticed a pool of liquid was forming at the bottom of the potato mixture. I was frustrated and confused; I thought I’d squeezed the potatoes bone dry. So, I drained the mixture a few times, convinced I had ruined the latkes.

When it was time to leave for my In laws’ house, we packed up the food and hopped in the car. When we arrived at their house, I noticed that the potato liquid had spilled out of the bowl in transit. The bad news was there was liquid all over my bag; the good news was the latkes were finally free of liquid and they were ready to fry!

The moral of the story: store-bought shredded potatoes are an okay way to go if you don’t want to worry about squeezing out the liquid!

Luckily, after all that work, the latkes turned out “perfectly” and were a great addition to our holiday celebration.

Happy Hanukkah!

Potato Latkes

What You Need

  • 4 cup raw potatoes, grated
  • 1/2 large onion, grated
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons flour, breadcrumbs, or matzo meal (I used brown rice flour to make it gluten free)
  • Ground pepper to taste
  • Oil for cooking

What To Do

  1. Peel large potatoes, soak several hours in cold water to keep them from turning colors. Drain. Grate potatoes using a food processor grating attachment, or hand grater (or use store-bought grated potatoes). Grate onion.
  2. Place grated potatoes and onions in a dish towel and wring out the excess liquid. Keep wringing until all the liquid is gone.
  3. Beat eggs well and mix with potatoes and the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  5. Drop the mixture by spoonfuls into the pan. Flatten latkes slightly while cooking, and turn once. Remove from the pan when latkes are crisp and golden. Let them sit on paper towels for a few minutes. Serve hot with apple sauce or sour cream.

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