The Jewish holiday of Chanukah has always been a wonderful holiday for me. The special childhood memories I have of Chanukah always include potato latkes. When I was a little girl, I would, as usual, be in the kitchen when my mother was cooking. I loved to stand right next to her as she made her latkes. She used her mother’s (my Grandma Rose Hindes’s) delicous recipe. My mother would make a batch of these, and then she would put them in the freezer for a dinner we’d have later in the week. In other words, these latkes were not meant for immediate consumption. As I stood next to my mother while she was frying the latkes, I prayed for these words to come out of my mother’s mouth- “Judy, you can have one.” She always let me have at least one (She would allow herself to take one too.) She also allowed me to pick off all the little crunchy browned bits around the edges of the latkes. When I became a mother myself, I was so happy as the holiday of Chanukah approached because that meant it was time for me to start making my mother’s latke recipe. I loved making them and calling my kids into the kitchen to tell them they could have some hot off the presses. I also loved making lots and putting them in the freezer, just like my mother did. There was nothing as gratifying, for me, as watching the expression on my children’s, my husband’s, or especially my mother’s or father’s faces as they put one of these incredible latkes in their mouths. Please, understand that there is nothing hard about making these. Once you get the hang of it, you will be making them by the dozens, too!
I usually double this recipe.
- 3 large sized Idaho or russet potatoes
- 2 large eggs or 1 jumbo egg
- 1 medium to large onion
- 1/4 cup of matzo meal or 1/4 cup flour (you can use flour, but I think the texture and flavor are better if you use matzo meal)
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- Vegetable oil for frying (for the best taste, use corn oil)Sour cream and applesauce for serving
Peel and quarter the onion. Then peel potatoes, and pat them dry with paper towels, and quarter them. Crack egg or eggs into a blender. Add a few pieces of one potato, and then blend it. Then add the rest of the potatoes and the onion. Blend on high until the mixture is the consistency of apple sauce. The mixture should not be so pureed that it looks like liquid. It needs to be lumpy. But there should not be any whole pieces of potato or onion in it. When the blender is full, dump the mixture out into a large mixing bowl. If you are doubling the recipe, repeat and dump the mixture a second time into the large mixing bowl. Then add the matzo meal or flour, the salt, and pepper. Mix with a rubber spatula.
Heat oil ,about 1/8 to 1/4 inch high, in large frying pan over a medium to high heat (I use both non-stick and regular). Drop spoonfuls of batter into oil, about the size of silver dollar pancakes. You will be able to see when the latkes are really starting to brown. Loosen them with a good, sharp spatula from the pan, and if they are really browned on the bottom, flip them over. Then brown them on the other side. As they are done, take them out and put them on paper towels to drain. Flip them over on the paper towels to drain on the other side. Eat immediately with applesauce or sour cream. Or, you may freeze them once they have cooled.
If you are heating up your frozen latkes, take out as many as you wish right from the freezer, and put them into a preheated 375 to 400 degree oven on a sheet pan covered with aluminum foil, or a disposable cookie sheet with sides, and heat for about 15 minutes or until they are hot and bubbly.
Note: If I freeze them, I usually use an aluminum tin, and I make layers without overlapping the latkes, and I put a sheet of aluminum foil in between my layers.