I love latkes! For variety I make Sweet Potato Latkes occasionally which are very good, and slightly sweet.
Unlike Russet potatoes, sweet potatoes contain very little moisture so there is no need to squeeze them after shredding. I follow essentially the same recipe as for traditional potato latkes but I eliminate the onion.
Still, my favorites are the traditional ones made with Russet potatoes. I used to grate the potatoes by hand, but over time I have come to prefer using the food processor fitted with most fine grating blade (cheese grating blade.)
I was 5 years old the first time I tasted potato latkes at my friend and classmate, Joel's home. He and his family were good neighbors and lived right down the street from my house while I was growing up.
Joel's mother, Mrs. R., had graciously invited our entire kindergarten class (!) to their home where she had prepared a magnificent feast of Jewish foods, all arranged beautifully on their large dining room table. The table sparkled with delicious food. It was lovely, and everything smelled so good.
My photos hardly do these delights justice, but they really are delicious.
It was love at first bite for me all those years ago. I make latkes a couple of times per year and admit I am no expert but I've experimented and have picked up a few tips along the way.
The traditional recipe I follow is nearly identical to
Some people like their latkes smooth like the ones from a mix, some prefer them chunky, or a combination of shredded and chopped/grated, I suppose it might have something to do with the style you are used to.
I cannot say my latkes are very authentic, nor the most beautiful you have ever seen but they are really delicious. I like the edges lacy and crispy and the middle part tender.
I found an invaluable tip a few years ago which I hadn't seen before and it works very well for me; save and use the potato starch that is rendered from the grated potatoes, it helps eliminate or cut back on the amount of Matzo meal or flour necessary.
The process is simple: As you grate the potatoes put them in a large bowl of cold water. Squeeze the moisture out of the grated potatoes over the bowl of water (the more moisture you leave behind the better the latkes.) Continue until all of the potatoes are squeezed.
By the time you have finished the water in the bowl will have settled and if you are lucky a layer of fresh potato starch will have settled at the bottom of the bowl. That's your BONUS!
Carefully drain off all of the water, retaining the starch. Add the starch to your shredded potatoes and continue with your recipe.
Depending upon the potatoes, there may be a good deal of starch, or not so much. You may still need to add another binder, but for example yesterday I did not, as there was plenty of rendered potato starch.
I would love to know if you have special memories related to latkes.
Do you have a favorite kind/style of latkes? Special have a special recipe you favor, or tricks or tips you use? Please share!
In the meantime I would like to wish all who celebrate, A very Happy Hanukah (Chanukah).