Potato Latkas. All Variations + Kugel. Frying Tips
There is no Chanukah without Latkas. We all seem to have something in common. We love fried foods, But we dread the caloric price we must pay. This is why I am including this comprehensive chapter on frying tips: I want to cure you of the fear of frying!
Frying Tips: Not Just for Potato Latkas!
Once you get over your fear of frying, you will enjoy fried foods more often and without guilt. The following tips apply not only to latkas, savory and sweet. They are good for anything you might be frying (shnitzels, fish fillets, etc…). I share all these tips and much more in my latest cookbook
Keep it dry:
Too much moisture will steam food instead of frying it, yielding soggy results. Be sure to dry whatever you are frying thoroughly with paper towels.
Keep it thick:
With a firm (not runny) batter, you will be able to form thicker patties, which will absorb much less oil than thinner ones. The outside will be crisp and the center will be tender yet cooked through.
Keep it hot:
Less-than-hot oil will seep into your food, making it inedibly greasy. If you are adding oil to your pan while frying, chances are your oil was not hot enough to begin with. When your oil is good and hot, you will need to add very little if any to finish frying an entire batch of food. How hot is hot enough? Drop a smidgen of batter into the oil. If it sizzles and rises to the surface, the oil is hot and ready for frying.
Keep it steady:
Do not crowd the pan. First of all, you will make handling the food more difficult. Also, crowding will bring down the temperature of the oil. Adding what you are frying at steady intervals ensures that the oil has time to return to the desired temperature.
Keep it lean:
I have my mother to thank for this advice. Rather than using spatulas or slotted spoons, work with two forks when frying. Lift each fried item with a fork on each side, and hold it vertically for a second or two over the frying pan: You will be surprised by how much oil drips off it. Immediately place the items on a plate lined with several layers of paper towels, which will absorb any remaining unwanted grease.
Keep it white:
This applies only to potato dishes. Peeled potatoes will oxidate when exposed to air and turn an unappealing gray color. So when making latkes (or a potato kugel), get everything ready and peel and grate the potatoes last, adding them immediately to the otherwise finished batter. This is key!
Keep it fresh and hot:
This is about freezing and reheating. If you are entertaining a large group, it won’t be enormous fun spending the afternoon frying while everyone is having a good time. If you must fry in advance, follow all the above guidelines, but fry each item until it is ninety percent cooked through, no more. Store it in a shallow pan in one layer. You can also place the latkas in the pan vertically, like a deck of cards; you will be able to fit quite a few in a pan in this position (again, one layer). Cover tightly. Refrigerate or freeze, depending on how long in advance you are preparing the dish. Reheat uncovered, at about 350*F, for fifteen to twenty minutes if it was frozen, until golden and crisp.
Now that we have had this little talk, let’s make latkas!
Of Course the #1 Potato Latkas!
From this mother recipe above you will find all these variations.
Sweet potato latkas
My Latkas Worldwide Recipes take you literally to all wonderful things around the world.
Dear potato latkas, I hate to break it to you, but as wonderful as you are, you’re not the only game in town. We have so many other fritters and pancakes to enjoy, beside all the variations on potato latkas proper listed below (Zucchini, sweet potato, beet, cauliflower etc)
The worldwide latkas recipe link teaches you many more exciting latkas and fritters: apple latkas, ricotta lemon fritters, kimchi latkas etc. Meet the whole happy latka family!
Toppings for Potato Latkas etc
Knock yourself with latka topping, to go with whatever latkas you are serving: Chutney, applesauce, sour cream or Greek yogurt, poached egg, smoked salmon, fruit preserves, even sorbet or ice cream .
Last But Not Least: Potato Kugel
What’s a potato kugel if not a giant baked latka?
Use exact same ingredients as for the basic potato latkes, adding 1/2 cup of oil in the batter. Pour in a 9×13 pan and bake at 350*F for an hour or until the top is golden. Cut and eat – enjoy!
Same instructions go for all other kugels whose latkes variations are listed. You will get zucchini kugel, cauliflower kugel, broccoli kugel etc…
- Oil for frying
- 1 cup flour, any flour, including GF, a little more if necessary
- 4 eggs
- 1 large onion, grated very fine (use a food processor)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- dash nutmeg
- 8 large starchy potatoes, such as Russet or Idaho
Heat the oil in a heavy skillet, about 1∕3 inch high, until very hot. Mix all remaining ingredients thoroughly in a bowl, adding a little extra flour if necessary to make the mixture stick. Form patties and throw them in the hot oil. Fry until golden, about 3 minutes on each side. Take out with a slotted spoon and transfer onto a plate lined with paper towels. You will get about 16 patties total. Serve hot, alone or with your favorite sauce and toppings.
Makes about two dozen latkas
Other Exciting Latkas!
For all other Latka Variations (pictured above), use the above recipe above, skipping the potatoes and using the following instead.
- 8 cups shredded vegetables: Keep the selection short and sweet. Choose from: carrots, sweet potatoes, zucchini, celery root, Beets, turnips, parsnips, mushrooms; or minced frozen vegetables: cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, kale etc., in any combination you like (the shorter the selection the better; use the food processor). Even a bag of mixed frozen peas, corn and carrots, coarsely ground, will do.
- Your favorite seasonings: oregano, thyme, basil, cinnamon, cumin, curry etc.
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