One of the most popular Hanukkah traditions today is eating fried foods. The latke, meaning “little oily”, is one of those foods. Typically it’s made with potatoes, but there are all kinds of sweet to savory variations. Below is a roundup from fellow bloggers to get your latke inspiration going.
Potato Latke Origins
The origin for the tradition of eating fried foods on Hanukkah comes from the miracle of the oil, when one day’s worth of oil needed for the Temple lasted for eight days. The original latkes were Italian ricotta pancakes. It wasn’t until the late 18th century that the Germans began using potatoes for these pancakes and has now become one of the classic Hanukkah foods.
(For more on Jewish Food History, Gil Marks The Encyclopedia of Jewish Food is a must have!)
Simple Steps to Keep it Real
Whatever variation you choose – though I think the classic potato isn’t going away – make sure to keep it real and stay away from vegetable oils!! Read more about what oils are best for high heat cooking here. My favorite oils for frying are the stable animal fats like rendered beef tallow or duck fat. For a parve version, try some sustainable red palm oil and/or coconut oil. For dairy, ghee is a great cooking fat.
Apple sauce is a popular accompaniment for latkes. Go for organic and unsweetened versions. Apples made it to the #1 spot for pesticide residue on the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list. Or better yet is make your own. Once you see how simple it is to make your own you may never buy store bought again! You can do it in a slow cooker, a raw version in a vitamix or other high speed blender, or just on the stovetop.
And if sour cream is your preference – stick to organic, full fat dairy – if possible from grass-fed animals.