In our house, we celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas, and it’s not Hanukkah without some good old latkes. These crispy fried potato fritters are a thing of beauty; often served with sour cream, applesauce, and cinnamon sugar they are a unique, yet simplistic item to serve. Id never had a latke until my husband made them for me. And we began to learn more about the art of making a latke from Jewish cookbook writer, Joan Nathan, author of King Solomon’s Table. From her we learned you should reserve a bit of that potato starch you worked so hard to squeeze out in the first place. That a little lemon juice can brighten the flavor and prevent browning. But I cant gave gluten, and typical recipes use flour to bind the latkes. These however, use arrowroot powder and much to our surprise, really helped with the crispy texture and the structure of the latke themselves. Latkes are a bit of work, lots of squeezing and shredding involved. But they are worth the trouble and a must have at the dining table during this time of year.
3 russet potatoes, peeled and grated
1/2 onion, grated
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tbs lemon juice
1/4 cup arrowroot powder or Gluten Free flour
1/4 tsp pepper
1-2 tbs potato starch, reserved
Avocado Oil or Grapeseed for Frying
- First things, first peel your potatoes right before you are reading to shred them to prevent premature browning.
- Once the potatoes are peeled, using a grater or a food attachment that can grate on a stand mixer or food processor, shred your potatoes onto a dishrag or thick towel. This requires some elbow grease if you do it with a grater–the old fashioned way–but you can accomplish the task however you feel best. *See Chef’s Note
- When the potatoes have been shredded, toss them with the lemon juice to delay more browning.
- Next, grate your onion or very, very finely dice them. Grating is best because it wont let the onion weigh down the latkes and will make it easier to remove moisture from the onion in the squeezing process.
- Combine the onion and potato together, mixing until they are well combined before wrapping the mix up in a dishtowel and squeezing the moisture out over a large bowl. It is important to squeeze as much moisture as you can out. Reserve 1-2 tbs of the potato starch liquid, but discard the rest.
- Now, in a bowl combine the spices, arrowroot, egg, and potato mixture until the egg and flour are well combined.
- Afterwards, heat a skillet with about an inch of avocado or grapeseed oil to a medium high heat (use enough oil that when you lay a latke down it comes about halfway up the latke).
- When the oil is heated up, begin scooping out latke mixture (about one spoonful of mixture) and forming it into a patty into your hands. I like to form it into a ball, squeeze any additional liquid out, before flattening it into a patty with my hands.
- As you form the patties, place them in the oil and fry about 4-6 min per side. The latkes will be a deep golden brown. As they finish, remove from oil and place on a plate lined with a dish towel to drain any oil. Keep going until you run out of potato mixture.
- Sprinkle with salt and serve with sour cream, applesauce, and cinnamon sugar! Better yet, try them with sour cream and applesauce on top–you won’t regret it!
Chef’s Note: You could, as a short cut, use frozen shredded potatoes. If you choose to take this route, remember to let them defrost at room temperature completely. You will likely have to squeeze out more liquid than you would a raw potato, but it’s all right to use frozen potatoes. Keep in mind however that frozen shredded potatoes are thicker and longer, so your patties won’t necessarily be uniform and may need to cook longer. You will have to lower the heat of the oil and do them lower and slower to prevent burning. The onions however, you will need to use freshly grated.