Hanukkah Starts Tonight

Families will be gathering around the menorah tonight to light the first candle of Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights.

Because oil is an important part of the Hannukah story, food cooked in oil is part of the celebrations. We love this recipe for potato latkes (pancakes) from the Jewish Holidays Cookbook: Festive Meals for Celebrating the Year by Jill Colella Bloomfield and Rabbi Janet Ozur Bass (DK Publishing).

This easy recipe can be served with applesauce or sour cream with chives.

Photo by Angela Coppola

Potato Latkes with Applesauce

This recipe is pareve and may be served with meat or dairy meals. Serves 6

For the latkes:
1 pound (450 g) potatoes, peeled
½ cup onion, finely chopped
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup canola oil

For the applesauce:
4 apples, peeled, cored, and diced
¾ cup water
1 tablespoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

potato latkes:
1 Shred potatoes with a grater. Watch your fingers!
2 Put potatoes and onion on paper towels and squeeze out the liquid.
3 Put dried potatoes and onion in medium bowl, then add egg, flour, and salt. Combine well.
4 Heat half of canola oil in skillet until very hot, then scoop mounds of potato mixture (about 2 tablespoons each) into pan. Do not crowd pan.
5 Press mounds down with spatula to flatten. Reduce heat and cook until bottoms are golden, about 5 minutes. Flip latkes and cook until golden on other side, then remove cooked latkes to a paper towel to drain. Repeat, using remaining canola oil as needed.
6 Serve immediately, or transfer to an oven-safe dish and keep in a warm (250°F or 120°C) oven until ready to serve.

applesauce:
1 Stir together all ingredients in a medium saucepan.
2 Cover saucepan and cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until apples are soft. (This will depend on  the type of apples you use.) Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool.
3 Using a potato masher, mash mixture until your applesauce is as chunky or smooth as you like.

“As the latkes are frying, everyone gathers in the kitchen and tells stories, plays dreidel, and gives presents to celebrate the joy of bringing the light of the menorah into a dark time of year.”
–Rabbi Ozur Bass

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