Traditional Latkes

This recipe comes courtesy of the kind folks at the Montefiore Institute (little Synagogue) in Calgary. I picked up a copy at Heritage Park in Calgary while visiting my good friend, Sue. She and I went with her mom. Alice, and had a lovely time enjoying their Once Upon a Christmas festivities.

Chanukah happens in December. (For more info, click on the link.) The tradition is to cook foods that are fried in oil to remember the miracle of the little jar of oil that burned for eight days. The most common Chanukah foods are latkes and special jelly-filled doughnuts, but these can be enjoyed at other times as well. Enjoy!

4 medium potatoes

1 large onion

2 eggs, beaten

1-1/2 tbsp matzoh meal (or cracker crumbs)

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

oil or shortening for frying (NOT olive oil, as its burning temperature is too low)

Peel and chop the onion finely.

In a large bowl with cold water, add the onion, then shred the potatoes into the onion to keep the potato from discolouring. Squeeze as much liquid as possible from the onion-potato mixture, by placing the shredded vegetables into a piece of cheesecloth and twisting until no more liquid can be extracted. (Putting them in a colander will work too, pressing down on them with your hand or a large spoon.

Return potato-onion mix to the bowl with the starch and add matzoh, eggs, baking powder, pepper and salt. Combine thoroughly. Form into palm-sized patties that are about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick (about 1 cm).

Fry these patties in 1/4 to 1/2 inch oil or melted shortening. (A cast iron pan works great for this. ) The patties will need to cook for about five minutes on the first side, so if they do more than go slightly brown after a minute or two, your oil is too hot. Turn the latkes after five minutes (or brown) and cook on the other side for about two minutes or until dark golden brown.

Drain thoroughly on paper towels or newspaper. Keep the first batch in a warm oven on a wire rack as you cook the next batch.

Serve with sour cream and applesauce. Hot pepper jelly is also a nice condiment.

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