Happy Hanukkah, the eight day and night Jewish Holiday marked by the lighting of candles in remembrance of the Menorah that continued to burn for eight days despite an only one day supply of oil left behind when the Jews returned to reclaim and purify their Temple following a battle with the Syrian Greeks.
Besides the daily prayers while lighting a candle each evening, and Hanukkah gifts shared over the course of the holiday, Potato Latkes is among the most popular food item served at gathering celebrations with family and friends. Served alongside Platters of the Potato Latkes are bowls of both applesauce and sour cream.
There are many versions of Latke Recipes, perhaps almost equal to the number of detailed preparation tips in order to serve the perfect Latke, golden crispy on the outside and softly cooked and flavorful on the inside. This year I have even been seeing new various versions of Gluten Free Latkes which seemed interesting to me and I may try one of those recipes shortly to see how they taste.
Today I made this Potato Latke Recipe from Pat Goodman using Bisquick instead of other alternative combinations including flour and possibly baking powder. You might remember Pat from the Rosh Hashanah Post on Spiced Peach Blog back in September where we featured Grammy Rose’s Apple Cake at the Goodman’s Annual Rosh Hashanah Party. Pat originally got this Latke recipe from her friend Lois who got it from her Mother-In-Law.
The results using the Bisquick in the batter base were very good although I used small onions and would have preferred slightly more onion flavor. Mostly what I like about using the Bisquick is that it did not have the ever so slight bitter aftertaste that I sometimes note in Latkes where flour and baking powder are used.
Instead of specific measurement amounts of Bisquick in the recipe instruction for the potato mixture, Pat’s recipe directs to add enough Bisquick to make a very thick batter almost a paste. This direction is very helpful given the variations in potato sizes, weight lost in peeling, and once the liquid from the grated potatoes drains from the colander. I ended up using seven heaping Tablespoons of Bisquick for the approximate 3 pounds of potatoes. I was curious how the batter would work with less eggs and if it would require the same or less amounts then of the Bisquick in binding the potato mixture together.
Over the years, I have sampled a broad range of Potato Latkes and so while it is possible for me to have favorites, still, I have never had a Potato Latke that I did not like, part of that might be I love anything potatoes. I have been hearing many stories about Latke making over the past couple of weeks and the funny thing is I have also heard many people share with me that they shy away from Latke making almost as if they were making their very first stuffed turkey. Clearly, I think Pat’s recipe could go a long way to taking the mystique out of this process.
Today I hand grated my potatoes, onions, and garlic and it went quickly. Pat uses a food processor to grate her potatoes, onions and garlic but I only made one batch of Latkes from the recipe shared below that yielded 21 Latkes. Pat and her daughter Debbie usually make hundreds of Latkes for the annual party with Debbie’s friends so in that case a food processor might be your best bet.
I also have a neighbor whose career is not time freeing enough for grating volumes of fresh potatoes so she has switched to purchasing the bags of fresh, already grated, potatoes that she then drains and dries to remove the liquid from the potatoes and from there she proceeds with her recipe. This is effective and quite good.
When grating your own potatoes for Latkes, the Russets seem to be the most popular for use. The oil used for frying should also be able to maintain a high temperature point such a corn oil, peanut oil, some people use safflower oil.
Now another big concern on the Latkes in talking to folks seems to be in the frying. Really, this is not difficult. One of my neighbors up the street recommends using a cast iron pan, I concur. I heated my cast iron pan, poured in the oil to cover the bottom of the pan well and then just a little more. Latkes are pan fried and not deep-fried so while you need the oil to be a little deeper than just coating the pan, you barely need a half inch of oil for an excellent outcome. Target has a beautiful collection of inexpensive, already seasoned, Cast Iron Pans so I definitely recommend purchasing one of these to make the cooking process mostly effortless.
After making the first batch of twenty-one Latkes the oil had most all been absorbed so if you are preparing more than one batch you may want to completely wipe out your pan after each batch and begin again adding in fresh oil. Otherwise if you keep adding oil to the pan you really may use far more oil than you really need.
Due to some schedule changes, Pat is not visiting from Florida for Hanukkah and I sure miss seeing her but wish both her and Mort a very Happy Hanukkah. Pat’s Latke recipe produces quite delicious results, and my taste testers unanimously agreed. The only glitch with these Latkes is that they are guaranteed to disappear fast. I could easily make a few batches and put some aside freezing for a later time.
Spiced Peach Blog extends Warmest Wishes to All of our Readers celebrating Hanukkah, your family and friends a very Happy Holiday! L’Chayim!
- 3 pounds Russet Potatoes (approximately)
- 2 onions
- 2- 3 cloves garlic
- 4 eggs, beaten
- Bisquick, enough to make a very thick batter, similar to a thin paste (I used 7 heaping Tablespoons for 3 pounds of drained, dried potatoes)
- salt and pepper
- oil for frying
- Peel and grate potatoes, onions and garlic and put into a large colander over a large bowl to drain, pressing on the potatoes to release liquid, let potatoes sit to continue to fully drain. If desired, squeeze out any remaining liquid using a clean dish towel. Beat eggs in a large mixing bowl. Stir potato mixture into the eggs and blend together well. Add in the Bisquick until the batter is to the desired consistency for shaping Latkes, thick enough to hold batter together for forming patties. Add salt and pepper, stir. Form Latkes into 3 inch circles. Heat Pan (cast iron pan recommended), add oil. When oil is hot, add formed Latkes into the oil. Cook a few minutes on medium high heat lifting the Latkes gently to peek for golden color and then turn Latkes over, cook another few minutes or more. Latkes should be cooked and soft in the middle. As Latkes are finished remove them from your frying pan and place onto paper towels to absorb any excess grease. Place Latkes on a Platter serving sour cream and applesauce on the side.