The latke who couldn’t stop screaming

Chanukah is one of my favourite Jewish holidays ever! AND it starts with the letter C, depending on how you look at it. Although for the most part, I am skeptical of organised religion, there’s no denying that we Jews know how to eat. Sufganiyot? Jelly-filled heaven.  Challah bread? Gimme some more. Gefilte fish? OK – maybe not.

Challah, baked

Challah, baked (Photo credit: Three Points Kitchen)

The latke is probably the best of all Jewish foods, matzo ball soup and bagels and cream cheese aside. They are so good that there is a book about them, a song:

I’m a little latke, round and flat.

Here is my front side, here is my back.

When I get all fried up here me shout.

Flip me over and take me out.

And even, as of late, a play. Disclaimer – there is probably more than one book about latkes, but The Runaway Latkes was always my favourite. Also, latkes don’t actually shout.

My mother and I used to make them every year, in a series of exercises of trial and error – sometimes they worked, sometimes they didn’t. To the layperson, the latke is a potato pancake. To the foodie Jew – it is an art.

I made them last year using a recipe from The Daily Green, and I’ll never go back.


1 pound potatoes – the recipe calls for russet, but they don’t do that here , so any good baking potato will do – peeled and grated. This is the key – however you chose to make your latkes, grate your potatoes. Never mash.

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and grated

1 egg, beaten

2 tbsp flour

1 tsp salt

pepper to taste

Oil. Probably a lot of it.


1) Combine all ingredients other than the oil in a large bowl.

2) Don’t drink wine with this one a) because it will probably be morning when you are making these and b) because there’s a lot of hot oil involved.

3) Heat oil in a large pan, over medium-high heat.

4) Drop 1 tablespoon of batter per latke into the pan – flatten lightly with a spatula and then reduce heat. Cook until golden brown and crispy, roughly 5 minutes per side. Rinse and repeat. (Don’t actually rinse)

5) Transfer latkes to a plate or serving dished lined with paper towel. Serve warm with sour cream or applesauce.




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