This recipe for latkes (or potato pancakes) is from Bubbe, Kate’s grandmother. It’s an everyday food at Jewish delis (I love it with my salami and eggs) but it’s also very traditional for Hanukkah.
Hanukkah, also called the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday. This year it begins on December 1st this year. I’m excited because we are flying to New York to see Bubbe and Papa for Bubbe’s 70th birthday party. For the first time, we get to celebrate Hanukkah with Bubbe and Papa.
Hanukkah includes the custom of eating foods fried or baked in oil, as the original miracle of the Hanukkah menorah involved the discovery of a small flask of pure olive oil. This small batch of olive oil was only supposed to last one day, and instead it lasted eight. Potato pancakes, known as latkes in Yiddish, are traditionally associated with Hanukkah, especially among Ashkenazi families, as they are fried in oil.
I fried the latkes in refined-expeller pressed coconut oil, but you can also use olive oil. I’m such a big fan of coconut oil because of the health benefits. Make sure you use the expeller-pressed version, since you don’t want the taste of coconut. I also used sprouted flour instead of the traditional matzo meal.
I really recommend buying organic potatoes. Did you know that non-organic potatoes don’t sprout? Yeah, isn’t that weird? I try to buy organic potatoes and organic onions if possible.
Bubbe’s Coconut Oil Latkes
Potatoes, organic if possible — russet or Idaho (2 pounds)
Large white or yellow onion, organic if possible (1/2)
Large eggs ,pastured, or at least organic, free-range (8)
Sprouted flour , or rice flour if you are gluten free (6 TBS) — where to buy sprouted flour
Sea salt (4 tsp) — where to buy sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Refined, expeller pressed coconut oil (1 1/2 cup) — where to buy coconut oil
Sour cream , grass-fed and organic if possible, full-fat — where to buy starters
Apple sauce , organic if possible
1. Peel the potatoes, then shred them using a box grater or using your food processor.
2. Using cheesecloth or a thin dish cloth, wring the potatoes hard over the sink, extracting as much moisture as possible.
3. Add the shredded potatoes to a large mixing bowl (or two bowls, if necessary). Mix in the onion, eggs, sprouted flour and salt.
4. Add a few turns of freshly ground black pepper and combine throroughly.
5. Heat the coconut oil in a large cast iron or enamelware skillet or Dutch oven. You can use a thermometer to test the temperature. I did not find it necessary but you may want to for precision. Heat the oil to about 300-340
degrees, or, if not using a thermometer, until you toss in a bit of batter and you get lots of tiny bubbles.
6. When the oil is hot enough, carefully place generous tablespoonfulls of the potato mixture into the skillet. Press down on them slightly to form 1/4 to 1/2 inch patties.
7. Fry on each side until cooked through and golden brown.
8. Drain on paper towels. Set aside or in the fridge and warm in the oven just before serving.
9. Serve with sour cream and applesauce.
More Holiday Recipes
Jenny at Nourished Kitchen will be teaching this and other Hanukkah dishes — including braised beef short ribs, whole-grain challah, and homemade sour cream — in her holiday cooking series, Happy Healthy Holidays.
If you want to learn more holiday recipes for Hanukkah and Christmas, including traditional egg nog and Christmas cookies, click here to sign up now. Hurry! The series starts December 1st.