December 10, 2007

Latkes (Potato Pancakes)

by IsaChandra

I feel like a horrible secular Jew and a horrible non-secular vegan. It’s the middle of Hannukah and I haven’t posted a latkes recipes yet. Well, better late than never. These are in Veganomicon and are the most irresistible fried potato concoction there is. Serve with apple sauce, if you’ve got VwaV the roasted applesauce in there is great with these. But any apple sauce will do, really.

Potato Latkes

Makes about 18

Image stolen from Tofu666

2 1/2 pounds starchy white potatoes, peeled (russets, idaho, et al)
1 small yellow onion, peeled
1/4 cup potato or corn starch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups matzoh meal

Lots of vegetable oil

If using a food processor:
Use the grating blade to shredd the potatoes and the onion.

If shredding by hand, use a grater to shred all the potatoes. Dice the onion as finely as possible.

Have ready brown paper shopping bags or paper towels for draining the oil from the latkes. You may also want to have the oven on at 200 F to keep the latkes warm until you’re ready to serve. If serving immediately then just have a baking pan covered with tin foil ready to keep the finished ones warm after they’ve been drained.

In a large mixing bowl, using a wooden spoon or your hands (I use my hands, it’s faster) mix the potatoes and onions with the potato starch until the potatoes have released some moisture and the sornstarch is dissolved, about 2 minutes.

Add the salt and pepper to combine. Add the matzoh meal and mix well. Set aside for about 10 minutes. The mixture should get liquid-y but sticky.

In the meantime, preheat a large preferable cast iron but definitely non-stick skillet over medium heat, a little bit on the high side. Add about 1/4 inch layer of vegetable oil to the pan. The oil is hot enough when you throw a bit of batter in and bubbles rapidly form around it. If it immediately smokes then the heat is too high and you should lower it a bit. If the bubbles are really lazy then give it a few more minutes or turn the heat up a bit.

With wet hands (so that the mixture doesn’t stick) roll into small golf ball sized balls. Flatten into thin round patties. I do about 4 to six at a time. Fry on one side for about 4 minutes, until golden brown. Flip over and fry for another 3 minutes.

Transfer to the paper towels and proceed with the remaining latkes. Once latkes have drained on both sides, place in a baking pan to keep warm.

  • December 10, 2007 at 5:06 pm: mo

    wow, yummy! I’ve never had these, but they look delicious. are they ENTIRELY crispy like a chip or are they soft in the middle? Are these like a hash brown?!?!?!?

  • December 10, 2007 at 5:23 pm: IsaChandra

    Soft in the middle, not unlike a hashbrown.

  • December 10, 2007 at 5:23 pm: John

    I made these from Vcon the other night, and they were excellent – just the right texture, etc. And they reheated quite well the following day. Next time, I will increase the amount of onion, but that’s just my personal taste.

  • December 10, 2007 at 5:51 pm: Cherie

    I like latkes but don’t make them nearly enough. I love them topped with tons of green onions. Vegan ones are superior. :p

  • December 10, 2007 at 5:58 pm: tofu666

    that tofu666 guy really should update his blog more often…

  • December 10, 2007 at 8:23 pm: Paula

    these are so awesome. i made them the other night and lit a makeshift chanukkiah made of tea lights with one on top of a cup turned upside down.

  • December 10, 2007 at 11:52 pm: Rebecca

    No vegans at my Hanukkah party this year, but I am definitely looking forward to experimenting with these in the future! Any other options for binding such as tofu, avocado, etc?

  • December 11, 2007 at 9:37 am: Rachel

    Made these from Veganomicon for my Jewish boyfriend the other night (if I didn’t observe Hannukah nothing would have happened in our house.) Pronounced “really awesome” and better than his mom’s and – better than the from-a-packet ones!!! Latkes have now moved well up his list of ways he likes to eat fried potatoes.

  • December 11, 2007 at 10:37 am: melissatsang

    Hi Isa, what’s matzoh meal? Forgive my ignorance…Hannukah is unheard of in Singapore…and if I don’t have matzoh meal can I somehow make it myself?

  • December 11, 2007 at 10:39 am: IsaChandra

    Rebecca…I have never tried tofu or avocado as a binder, and I think either would be a little bit gross. These are perfect, trust me!

    melissa…matzoh is a flatbread. You can use cracker crumbs if you can’t find matzohs.

  • December 11, 2007 at 11:54 am: Lesley

    Thank you so much for (in VCON) legitimizing my family’s pronunciation of the word as “lat-key”. I can’t tell you how many looks I get from people when I say it this way after moving to California. I guess “lat-key” must a Midwestern Jew thing.

  • December 11, 2007 at 12:22 pm: Sarah

    re: other binders. I veganize my latkes using chickpea flour with excellent results.

  • December 11, 2007 at 7:48 pm: Michelle

    I made the Autumn Latkes for a hannukah party a few days ago, and they were so good! And beautiful! I ate so many latkes that night that I felt like one big potato (root vegetable!), so I hesitate to make any more latkes this go around. But I want to make these!!!

  • December 11, 2007 at 11:33 pm: melissatsang

    Thanks Isa! What crackers would you recommend? I’m thinking plain saltines.

  • December 12, 2007 at 1:27 pm: mel

    Do you think panko would be absorbent enough to sub for the meal?

  • December 12, 2007 at 2:21 pm: sher

    thanks for posting the recipe. every year, i look forward to the night when i make latkes, thereby endangering my household because i cannot fry anything without setting off the smoke alarm.

    next year, we’re goin’ baked, baybay. i don’t know how, but i have to figure it out.

  • December 12, 2007 at 2:34 pm: VeggieGirl

    ahh, Isa, those latkes look PERFECT – and the roasted-applesauce from VwaV sounds like a much better accompaniment than “regular” applesauce. thanks for the serving idea!

    oh and even though last night was, well, the last night of Hanukkah, I still want to wish you a Happy Hanukkah, and a wonderful holiday season!! :0)

  • December 12, 2007 at 5:21 pm: IsaChandra

    melissa..saltines sound like a good bet.

    mel…I make daikon latkes and use panko in those so I think panko is a great choice.

  • December 12, 2007 at 7:06 pm: mel

    Are you anti-food miscegenation in your kitchen?

  • December 13, 2007 at 8:51 am: melissatsang

    Because the corn muffins were so good the last time, I made them again using whole wheat flour. But I substituted about 2 tbsp of oil with extra applesauce.

    My corn muffins turned out too dry…I didn’t bake them too long…I have no idea what went wrong.

    Thanks anyway, the recipe makes good muffins I’m sure!

  • December 19, 2007 at 10:26 pm: Ashley

    I made these for my Hanukkah party!!! Actually I made mine with cilantro in it. Herbs make latkes sooo much better. Everything I made was vegan actually (and it was almost everything there) I also made the roasted applesauce, the autumn latkes, the sour cilantro cream, chile cornmeal crusted tofu, green pumpkin seed mole sauce, veg chili, and i think that’s it, but i really can’t remember. O wait the jicama salad. Sorry I don’t have pix!! No one else there was even vegetarian, but they all ate everything. Our family friends son who’s 13 said to me before he left, “That chili was really good, even if it didn’t have meat in it”

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  • November 10, 2010 at 12:26 am: NLP Courses ยท

    smoke alarms are always great investment if you want to avoid having your home burned to the ground ~

  • November 19, 2010 at 8:36 pm: Hayley

    Looking to make these this year. Could these be baked instead of fried? Thanks!

  • March 25, 2011 at 2:22 pm: Michael A. Gottlieb

    If you want your latkes to be really crispy, then you have to squeeze some water out of the potatoes. To do that, wrap the shredded potatoes in a plain cotton (not terrycloth!) tea towel, and squeeze and twist as hard as you can, as long as you can.

    • March 25, 2011 at 2:42 pm: IsaChandra

      These are very crispy! You actually shouldn’t squeeze the water out of these, you need it so that it binds with the starch.

  • March 29, 2011 at 9:05 pm: Diane

    I also use sweet potato to make latkes. It is the one time of year I hand grate the potatoes.

  • April 15, 2011 at 2:42 am: Afrinina

    These are great! I forgot to buy the onion at the store so threw in some minced garlic and they were excellent! Also, couldn’t find maztoh so used crackers ground up and it was nice! Yum Yum thank you!!

  • December 14, 2011 at 11:41 pm: Jeffro

    I made some beet latkes and I love them..

  • December 23, 2011 at 4:34 am: JJ

    Mmmmmmm! We made these with the horseradish-dill sour cream from Veganomicon tonight! These are fantastic latkes, they stay together so well, cook nicely, and taste delicious! I’m impressed! Thanks Isa!

  • December 27, 2011 at 6:28 pm: Elizabeth

    Since our family freaks out because we are vegan we made these and the roasted applesauce and brought them to dinner. They were so delish! Even the family raved about them. Take that non-vegan family members! Thanks Isa.

  • January 3, 2012 at 3:26 pm: Andrea

    So easy, so tasty! Thanks for the recipe. Three loves (me, husband, and six year old) and one wouldn’t even try them (2 year old, no idea why not, but more for us…)

  • January 19, 2012 at 11:32 pm: Kat

    This recipe just saved my butt. I had to come up with something for one of those stupid “bring something from your ethnicity” potlucks. Thank goodness for vegan Jews!

  • March 5, 2012 at 10:04 am: Yael Nyden

    I’ve been making this recipe for years. You’re the only other vegan Jew I know of (who posts recipes) and you’re my favorite vegan chef!

    p.s. What happened to the Matzoh ball soup recipe? It’s GONE!!! *cries* I was going to make it again and it’s not there. I’m a sad panda.

  • November 3, 2012 at 2:17 pm: Julu

    I’ve made these fried several times, fantastic, and lately I’ve been baking them. I just spread olive oil over them on a cookie sheet, then bake until they are crispy! This is my favorite latke recipe! It is too good to save only for Chanukah, I make them throughout the whole year!

  • December 5, 2012 at 6:26 pm: Ariel

    Could you bake these instead for an oil-free option?

  • December 5, 2012 at 11:30 pm: Faith

    Made vegan latkes for the girls tonight. Call me crazy, but I think they actually turn out better this way! All the same, the little one loved them. My picky girl was not impressed. What am I going to do with her??? I refuse to serve cheese and white foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner…sigh.

  • September 24, 2013 at 8:35 pm: Yodamom

    Making these tonight for the family.

  • November 18, 2013 at 2:51 pm: Helene Nagel

    In looking at the recipe, I noticed that you did not squeeze out the liquid form the shredded potatoes, which I have always had to do, making traditional latkas. Please clarify. It would be nice not to have to do that.

  • December 1, 2013 at 1:35 am: Amanda

    I made these tonight for Hanukkah. They were fabulous. Perfectly crispy, no squeezing. I even got to use all the old stale matzoh from Passover. As another poster mentioned, I might add more onion next time because I really love onions, but these were great as is.

  • December 1, 2013 at 6:35 pm: Lindsay

    I’m going to be making these for my son’s kindergarten class tomorrow and want to prepare ahead as much as possible while also having them ‘help.’ (Ya know, since splattering oil is so fun for 5 year olds). Is there anything I can make any of this ahead of time? Can I grate all the potatoes/onions or will they turn a funky color? Thank you for any help or suggestions!

  • June 15, 2014 at 11:19 pm: Jessie

    Made the Autumn Latkes in Veganomicon today to help work through 10 CSA beets (!!), subbing in a bit of coconut flour for sweetness to try to entice my kids. I think I added too much fennel for their liking, which means more for me! Thanks for such a great recipe–they’re beautiful, all jewel-looking!

  • December 15, 2014 at 3:43 am: MM

    To those who asked about baking, no, because if they are baked they are not latkes. They may be edible or even good, but they are not latkes. The point of Hanukkah foods (i.e., latkes and sufiganyot) is that they are fried in oil to commemorate the miracle of the oil to relight the Temple menorah. Baking latkes is in the same category as the idiot who fried his latkes in bacon grease. Just no–that’s a potato pancake, not a latke.

  • December 22, 2014 at 6:00 pm: Rebecca

    These were perfect! They tasted exactly like the non-vegan latkes my parents always made. I used matzo ball mix instead of plain matzo meal, and omitted the salt and pepper (since they were already in the matzo ball mix) and they were delicious and tasted exactly as latkes should. Yum

  • December 11, 2015 at 8:42 am: Julie

    Another year, another awesome vegan Chanukah party with these latkes! Thank you Isa! You really do do it and you did it! :)

  • December 11, 2015 at 4:09 pm: Angela

    Would gluten-free flour mix work as a substitute for matzoh meal? Gluten-free matzoh meal has egg in it.