Yes, latkes can be incredibly easy to make, but the quality of your end result latkes depends on how well the batter can stay together while frying.
The batter itself is made with your shredded main latke base, egg, matzo meal (kosher bread crumbs), and some additional seasoning as desired. To make the batter stick perfectly while frying, the key is to wring out as much excess water from your base ingredient as possible.
From there, you mold the batter into small silver-dollar sized pancakes, and you fry them until golden brown for several minutes on each side. It’s as simple as can be, but there are certain added “tricks” to help make the latkes consistently extraordinary.
When making potato latkes, for example, your latkes will benefit greatly if you keep the water that you wring out of the grated potatoes. Why is this? After only a few minutes, starch will separate from the water and sink to the bottom of your bowl. You pour out the water, and this separated starch can be added back to your latke batter as a fantastic binding agent!
And apparently (though we ourselves learned this trick after only our recipe tests), it’s possible to prevent your freshly grated potatoes from discoloring and turning brown by immediately soaking them in cold water. After a few minutes (up to 10), you can remove the potatoes from the water and continue along making lightly golden crispy latkes.
Our Take on the Recipe
We hope we don’t offend latke purists out there with this substitution, but we opted to use panko breadcrumbs in place of matzo meal. Normally, latkes should be made with matzo meal, a certified kosher form of breadcrumbs, but we personally enjoyed using panko instead and the lighter and less oil-dense flavor to the latke.
There are other recipes out there for latkes that offer up a lighter suggestion by baking the latkes instead of frying in olive oil. In a rare break from our own Arousing Appetites “health first” mantra, however, we opted to intentionally not take the healthier route on this one. Not only did we find the fried latkes to be tastier, but the frying in oil is such an integral part of what makes latkes a perfect Hannukah food that it seemed inappropriate to remove a key component of the recipe.
Finally, latkes are generally served with both sour cream and applesauce. For the sour cream, we substituted in Greek yogurt with added fresh herbs like dill. For the applesauce, we made an incredibly simple homemade spiced applesauce recipe that you will see in the recipe itself. These accompaniments were as wonderful as the latkes themselves!
Do you celebrate Hanukkah? How do you make your latkes? Comment below!
Latkes in freshly cracked kosher salt and pepper to taste.
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled
1 egg, beaten
½ medium-sized yellow onion
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
Freshly cracked kosher salt and pepper to taste
½ handful thyme and dill, finely chopped (optional)
3 organic apples, washed thoroughly, cored, and cut into small chunks
⅓ cup Apple Juice or water (we used water)
Juice Of ½ Lemon
Pinch of brown or coconut sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon nutmeg
Greek Yogurt Accompaniment
½ cup greek yogurt
1 handful dill, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Stage 1: Latkes – Grate Onions and Potatoes
Use a food processor(on Amazon) to grate the onion and your potato together. If making latkes by hand, use a hand grater to grate your main ingredient and onion together into a large bowl
(Optional) Change the blade of your food processor(on Amazon) from grater to the large steel blade and pulse batches of grated mixture for approximately 10 seconds.
(Optional if making potato latkes) Soak the grated potatoes and onions in cold water for 10 minutes
Place grated mixture in a colander and thoroughly strain excess liquid into a bowl. Save the liquid and set aside for a few minutes. If using a starchy potato base, the liquid will separate and the starch will fall to the bottom. This is a fantastic thickening agent for your latkes.
Stage 2: Latkes – Add Whisked Eggs and Herbs to Grated Mixture
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and any additional fresh herbs together.
Take the bowl of “starch water”, pour out the water risen to the top, and add the remaining starch to the egg mixture and whisk well. This will distribute the thickener well throughout the latke mixture
Add the egg mixture and breadcrumbs to the grated latke mixture and mix well with your hands
Stage 3: Latkes – Fry in Batches
Heat a skillet on high heat and add a thin layer of olive oil to cover the base of the pan. Get the oil to a nice hot temperature where it crackles
Add your latkes to the skillet and fry on each side for 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown
Take the latkes out of the pan and place onto a plate with a paper towel to soak any remaining oil out
Stage 4: Make Applesauce
Combine the cut apples, lemon juice, coconut sugar, water and your spices into a small pot and put over medium heat on the stove
Let sit and cook together for 25 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally
After 25 minutes, begin mashing the softened apple pieces either with a fork, whisk, or food processor(on Amazon). Keep mashing until you get to your desired level of consistency (we personally like our applesauce chunky)
Stage 5: Greek Yogurt
Mix greek yogurt with dill and salt and pepper, and set aside
Prep Time:15 mins
Cook Time:10 mins
Keywords: Potato Fritters, Crispy Fritters, Fritters in Olive Oil