History of Latkes:
Latkes, or potato pancakes, have a long history rooted in Jewish culinary traditions. The association of latkes with Hanukkah can be traced back to Eastern Europe. The custom of eating fried foods during Hanukkah is a symbolic celebration of the miracle of the oil in the ancient Temple in Jerusalem.
The story goes that when the Maccabees rededicated the Temple, there was only enough oil to light the menorah for one day, but miraculously, it lasted for eight days. To commemorate this miracle, many Jewish households prepare foods fried in oil during Hanukkah, and latkes are a popular and delicious manifestation of this tradition.
Traditionally made with ingredients readily available during the winter months, such as potatoes and onions, latkes have become a beloved Hanukkah dish. They are often served with applesauce and sour cream, adding a sweet and tangy complement to the savory, crispy pancakes. Today, latkes continue to be a staple of Hanukkah celebrations, connecting generations to the rich history and traditions of the holiday.
- 4 large russet potatoes, peeled
- 1 large onion
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Applesauce and sour cream, for serving
- Grate the potatoes and onion using a box grater or a food processor.
- Place the grated potatoes and onion in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, flour, baking powder, salt, and black pepper.
- Add the grated potatoes and onion to the egg mixture, stirring until well combined.
- In a large skillet, heat about 1/4 inch of vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
- Drop spoonfuls of the potato mixture into the hot oil, flattening each spoonful with the back of a spatula to form a pancake shape.
- Fry the latkes for 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown and crispy.
- Remove the latkes from the oil and place them on a paper towel to drain any excess oil.
- Serve the latkes hot with applesauce and sour cream on the side.