Home Food Why latkes? It’s a tradition!

Why latkes? It’s a tradition!


They’re sometimes greasy, sometimes salty and soggy, and they’re fried in oil. But they are so good.

They are Chanukah potato pancakes known as latkes.

With all the oil used for frying, latkes may be considered an unhealthy food. Yet, each Chanukah, many of us who are staunch-hearted and old-fashioned, spend time grating potatoes by hand. The more modern among us risk coming out with liquid mush by using a food processor or blender.

Why do we keep making these pancakes year after year? Why do we eat them for Chanukah in the first place? As Tevye says, “It’s tradition!”

Low-fat latkes

o 9 coarsely grated potatoes

o 1 coarsely grated onion

o 1/3 cup flour

o 1/2 tsp. baking powder

o 1 cup egg substitute or 2 eggs plus 4 whites

o salt and pepper to taste

o olive oil spray

Preheat oven to 450. Place nonstick baking sheet in oven to heat. Drain off as much liquid as possible from bowl with grated potatoes and onion.

Add flour, baking powder, eggs or egg substitute, salt and pepper, and blend.

Spray baking sheet with oil. Spoon small mounds of potato mixture onto baking sheets. Bake until brown on one side then flip to other side, making sure to place them where there is oil. Transfer to a platter and serve at once.


My mom’s classic latkes

o 6 peeled potatoes

o 1 medium onion

o 2 eggs

o 1 1/2 tsp. salt

o 1/4 tsp. pepper

o 1/2 cup flour

o oil

Grate potatoes and onion into a bowl or chop with blender or food processor. Add eggs, salt, pepper and flour and blend.

Heat oil in a frying pan. Drop batter by tablespoon around pan. Fry until brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels.

Note: This recipe can also be used to make potato kugel by pouring batter into a greased casserole and baking in 350-degree oven for 45 minutes.

Wolfgang Puck’s potato pancakes with smoked salmon and dill sauce

o 3 potatoes coarsely grated

o 1 small coarsely grated onion

o 1 egg

o 2 tbsp. flour

o 1/2 tsp. baking powder

o 1 tsp. salt

o 1/4 tsp. pepper

o oil

o 1/2 cup sour cream

o 1 tsp. chopped dill

o 1 tsp. lemon juice

o salt and pepper to taste

o 1 tbsp. snipped chives

o 1/2 lb. thinly sliced smoked salmon

Squeeze dry the potato-onion mixture after grating. Add egg, flour, baking powder, salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a frying pan. Drop tablespoons of the mixture around pan and flatten with the back of a spoon. Fry until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towel and continue with remaining batter.

In a bowl, combine sour cream, dill, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chives. Arrange pancakes on a platter. Serve with dill cream and smoked salmon.

Sybil Kaplan is a journalist, author, compiler/editor of nine kosher cookbooks, and a food writer who lives in Jerusalem, where she leads weekly walking tours of the Jewish food market, Machane Yehuda, in English.