Latkes are a traditional Jewish dish served during Hanukkah. It has gained popularity as a Hanukkah dish because of its method of cooking. Latkes are fried in oil, commemorating and reminding the Jewish people of the oil that provided light for 8 days. Hanukkah is in essence the Festival of Lights, a Jewish celebration that lasts for 8 days, of the rededication of the Temple as depicted in the Bible or Torah.
I came across this recipe from a mother at the girls’s school. My daughters, one big, one small, both go the International School of Paris where they are educated in the International Baccalaureate (IB) philosophy that celebrates and embraces difference. Of course, mathematics, science and PE, amongst other academic subjects, are taught too, just in case you’re thinking that the IB is a strange religious sect that only teaches the children to eat, love and pray.
Jokes aside, we love the IB way of education. My children are learning to be citizens of the world, they are beginning to understand that we are all different and also the same in the human race and that it is our responsibility to observe, preserve and conserve peace in the world. They are beginning to see that dialogue is so very important in the pursuit of peace and that language is no barrier to communication.
Latkes: I wanted to make something with the potato that I had in the fridge. I had a packet of Latkes flour which I’d purchased from the Jewish boucherie on the corner of my appartement. It had been sitting on my dry goods shelf for ages and was speaking to me in a language that only I understand….. Eat me! Eat me!, it said.
Well, what actually happened was that the packet of Latkes mix miraculously jumped off the shelf when I was pacing my kitchen floor for some inspiration as to what I can do with 4 potatoes.
Well, it required grating the said potatoes, leaving it to dehydrate whilst I sliced up a small onion and minced a clove of garlic. It is important to squeeze every bit of H2O from the shredded potatoes in order to make beautiful latkes. Water will cause the oil to spurt and spurting oil is UGLY! (in Mrs M’s favourite word! Don’t you just love it? A single word that gets to the point! Thank you Mrs M.)
Here’s the recipe:
- 4 medium size potatoes, shredded
- 1 tablespoon grated onion or a small onion
- 1 clove of minced garlic
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or Latkes mix
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (optional if using Latkes mix)
- 3 tablespoons of rapeseed oil for frying
- Place the potatoes in a cheesecloth and wring, extracting as much water as possible. It also works by simply squeezing hard with your hands sans cheesecloth.
- In a mixing bowl stir the potatoes, onion, garlic, eggs, flour and salt together. No salt if you are using the Latkes mix.
- In a large heavy-bottomed skillet or le crueset frying pan, over medium-high heat, heat the oil until hot. Using your hands to form a patty, place the potato mixture into the hot oil, pressing down on them with a flat wooden spatula to form 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick patties. Brown on one side, turn and brown on the other. Allow to drain on paper towels. Serve immediately!