This year Hanukkah begins at sundown on Sunday. One of the most popular traditions associated with this 8-day holiday—beside the kindling of the lights of the Menorah—is eating potato pancakes or latkes. I asked CafeMom tulip40in05, owner of the Hanukah - Chanukah - Hanukkah - Chanukkah group, to tell us more about this popular Hanukkah treat.
Do you celebrate Hanukkah? How?
CafeMom tulip40in05 had this to say about Potato Latkes:
"Hanukkah is the celebration of the miracle that occurred when one-day's worth of lamp oil lasted for eight days while the new oil was being made. Therefore, oil is used a lot in Hanukkah celebrations. Today, latkes (potato pancakes) are made from potatoes and fried in oil. Latkes symbolize the pancakes that the Maccabees ate while battling for their religious freedom. They are served with applesauce or, sometimes, sour cream."
The following is family recipe from rivertownmom, group administrator for Hanukah - Hanukkah - Chanukah - Chanukkah:
4 large Idaho potatoes (about 2 1/4 pounds)
2/3 cup coarsely chopped onion (1 medium)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup matzo meal
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper or to taste
Vegetable oil for frying
Fresh applesauce or sour cream (optional)
1. Scrub potatoes. Peel if you like, but it isn't necessary. Cut away any nicks or bruises, dice into 1/2-inch cubes and place in a bowl of cold water. (You can add salt or lemon juice to this water to keep your potatoes from "rusting.")
2. Shred (in a food processor using the "shredding" or coleslaw disk) potatoes and onions in batches. Alternate beginning with potatoes, and ending with onion. You can also grate the potatoes and onion by hand (but why bother?!).
3. To drain the potato and onion mixture transfer them to a sieve (I use my pasta drainer) placed over a large bowl. Press the mixture in the sieve to extract as much liquid as possible. (I squeeze large handfuls and transfer the squeezed mixture into another large mixing bowl). Reserve the liquid. Pour off the water so that only the potato starch is left in the bottom of the bowl. To this starch add the beaten eggs, salt and pepper. Beat together and pour over the potato/onion mixture. Stir in matzo meal.
4. Heat oil to a depth of about 1/4 inch in one or two large, heavy skillets preferably cast iron. Form pancakes using a heaping tablespoon of batter for each, flattening them with the back of the spoon as the batter is added to the skillet. Fry turning once until golden brown, adding more oil as needed. Drain on absorbent paper (paper towels) before serving.
Pancakes may be kept warm in a 250-degree oven. Yield: 24 to 30 four-inch pancakes, serving 6-8.