Totally Kosher

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latka 2013

Soft and creamy on the inside, crispy on the outside, potato latkes (Yiddish) are as Jewish as bagels, and as versatile.  Distinguishing the festival of Hanukkah or Chanukah, the dish originated in Eastern Europe and now graces the tables of Jewish homes around the world.

With the addition of a few simple ingredients, Totally Kosher gives latkes a modern twist.

Classic potato latkes – serves 4 to 6

  • 12 large potatoes
  • 4 eggs
  • 80g onion, finely grated
  • 2 t salt
  • Pinch white pepper
  • 160g flour
  • 225ml canola oil
  • 1 t baking powder, level

Peel the potatoes while submerged under water to preserve their colour, and then grate.  Avoid using a food processor as too much liquid will be released from the potatoes.  Pat dry using kitchen paper, pressing the potato firmly to absorb excess liquid and starch.  In a large bowl, beat the eggs.  Add the onion, salt and pepper, and then gradually add the flour and baking powder.  Stir in the grated potato.  Heat the oil in a shallow frying pan.  Form the potato mixture into small cakes by hand, and place into the pan once the oil is hot.  Fry until golden brown and crisp on the edges, approximately 4 minutes per side.

Traditionally served with soured cream and apple puree or cinnamon and sugar, the latkes should be prepared as needed.

 Asian latkes with seared tuna and salsa

  • Classic latke ingredients
  • 1 T fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 T fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 t lime zest
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 t garlic (optional)
  • Fresh chilli to taste (optional)

 Cubes of fresh tuna, portioned to fit neatly on top of each latke and seared

  •  50g grated cucumber
  • ½ punnet cocktail tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 bunch spring onions
  • 2 T sesame seeds
  • 1 T olive olive
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1 t honey
  • Pinch salt

 To prepare the salsa, begin by adding a pinch of salt to the cucumber and allowing to sweat for approximately 10 minutes.  Drain excess liquid and then pat dry using kitchen paper.  Add the remainder of the salsa ingredients.  Set aside while preparing the latkes.  Add additional latke ingredients to the classic recipe and prepare as described above.  

Assemble by spooning the salsa onto the latkes, topping with a portion of seared tuna.  Garnish with coriander and serve.  Fresh salmon is a good substitute for the salmon should it be difficult to obtain.

 Spiced mustard latkes

  • Classic latke ingredients
  • 1 t mustard powder
  • 1 t mustard seeds
  • 1 t honey
  • 1 T spring onion, chopped
  • Macon, pan-fried
  • Sweet chilli sauce
  • Fresh chives

 Add additional latke ingredients to the classic recipe and prepare as described above.  Top with pan-fried macon, drizzle with sweet chilli sauce and garnish with fresh chives.

 Use black mustard seeds where indicated to create an interesting colour contrast.

Sweet potato and cranberry latkes

Classic latke ingredients, excluding the white pepper

  • 1 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup sweet potato, grated
  • Fresh strawberries, chopped
  • Fresh mint
  • Icing sugar (optional)

 Combine the cranberries, water and sugar, and boil gently until the sugar is dissolved and the cranberries are soft.  Cool, and drain the syrup well.  Set the syrup aside, and then add the sweet potato and cranberry compote to the classic recipe.  Continue by preparing as described above. 

Serve topped with fresh strawberries, drizzled with the syrup and garnished with mint.  Dust with icing sugar if desired.

Butternut and orange latkes with chocolate drizzle

Classic latke ingredients, excluding the white pepper

  • 1 cup grated butternut
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • 100g dark or milk chocolate
  • 1 t butter or margarine
  • 20 ml milk 

In a double-burner, melt the chocolate with the butter and milk.  Set aside while preparing the latkes.  Add additional latke ingredients to the classic recipe and prepare as described above.

 Serve the latkes  in stacks of  three, drizzled with chocolate.

Latkes, donuts and other oily foods are traditionally served on Hanukkah, recalling the time when the Jews evicted the Syrian-Greeks invaders from the Temple in the 2nd Century BCE.  Once the desecrated Temple was re-dedicated, it was time to re-light the Menorah that was housed inside, but only one small jar of oil could be found.  Miraculously, the oil kept the Menorah burning for eight days – the duration of the Festival today.  Often mistaken as “Jewish Christmas”, possibility due to its position on the Western calendar, Hanukkah is a minor Festival characterised by the lighting of menorahs in Jewish homes, dreidels, singing and special foods.

Posted on: November 27th, 2013   |   No Comments

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