Saturday, December 24, 2011


Latkes are traditionally eaten by Jews during Hanukkah. The oil that they are fried in is the symbolic remembrance of the oil that kept the Second Temple of ancient Israel lit with a long lasting flame, which is celebrated as a miracle. Despite the tradition and popularity of eating latkes during Hanukkah, they are difficult to come by in shops and restaurants in Israel, because latkes have largely been replaced by the Hanukkah doughnut. This is due to connivance, local economic factors and influence by the trade unions.

The Hebrew name for latke, leviva, has it's origin in the Book of Samuel's description of the story of Tamar and Amnon. Some interpreters have noted that the homonym levav means "heart" and the verbal form l-v-v occurs in the Song of Songs as well.
 Latkes are not always made from potatoes. Before the discovery of the New World, which introduced potatoes to the Old World, lakes were, and in some cases still are, made with other kinds of vegetables, starches,cheeeses or legumes, depending on the available local ingridents and foodways of the various places where Jews live.
  The following is a recipe thatI use to make latkes but I make mine through out the year, just not that often because it takes me forever to get the potaoes ready. But that is just me
1 large egg
 3 Tablespoons of chopped chives (green onions as a substitute)
 2 Tablespoopns of matzo meal or all-purpose flour (pototo flour works well, also)
2 Tablespoons of grated onions ( I just dice mine)
1 Tablespoon of lemon juice
 3/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
2 1/2 lbs of baking potatoes ( 4 medium sized potatoes), peeled
1/2 Cup of vegetable oil for frying
Applesauce and sour cream

  1. Prheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with paper towels.
  2. In a bowl, with a fork, lightly beat the egg. Stir in chives, matzo meal,onion,lemon juice,salt and pepper. In a foodprocessor with a shredding disk, shred potatoes. Or do it the old-fashioned way, use a hand held grater. Thenplace potoes in a colander in the dink or a deep bowl; squeeze out liquid. Stir the potatoes int to the egg mixture.
  3. In a non-stick 12 inch skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat until very hot, but not smoking. Drop the potatoe mixture by scant 1/4 cups into the oil to make 6 latkes. Flatten each latke into 3-inch round. (I guess I should have read that part better because my 1/4 cups are heaping. But they still come out fine.)
  4. Cook latkes 8 to 10 minutes or until both sides are browned and crisp, turning once. With a slotted spatula, transfer to lined cookie sheet. Keep warm.
  5. Repeat stirring mixture each time before frying and adding more oil to each batch. Serve with applesauce and sour cream. ( I think it's okay to serve the latkes without the applesauce and sour cream, because you may not always have them on hand.) 


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