Plant-Based Potato Pancakes
Chef Lorne Feldman uses root vegetables for a more colorful, richly flavored latke.
Celebrate Hanukkah, family traditions and winter root vegetables with this Instagram-worthy latke recipe.
When I was growing up, Hanukkah always meant candles, presents, and most important of all, the smell and sound of latkes frying at my grandmother's house. While today I may use a recipe or a formula, my grandmother used neither and instead relied on her intuition and decades of frying experience to make what I remember as the perfect potato pancake.
She would hand grate some potatoes, an onion or two, some eggs, matzo meal and a very generous handful of salt before she would start frying. She would always joke that her latkes were kosher, except if she nicked her finger on the box grater, and then they weren’t kosher anymore! Today, I build on her expertise and usually use a ratio of 2:1 potatoes to onions, keeping the tradition of adding eggs, matzo meal and salt. For a variation, I grated a variety of root vegetables, including parsnips, turnips, carrots and sweet potatoes to make a more colorful, richly flavored latke.
Some useful techniques when making latkes include grating the onion over the potatoes to prevent discoloration and squeezing out as much liquid as possible from the grated vegetables prior to adding in the rest of the ingredients. Fry in peanut oil if possible, for its high smoking point, and serve with either homemade applesauce, if accompanying meat, or garnish with sour cream, crème fraiche and dill for a lovely addition to your holiday table.
Root Vegetable and Sweet Potato Latkes
Yields 24 small latkes
- 1 small russet potato, peeled
- 1 small sweet potato, peeled
- 1 small carrot, peeled
- 1 small parsnip, peeled
- 1 small turnip, peeled
- 1/2 yellow onion
- 1/2 cup matzo meal
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 large eggs
- Vegetable or peanut oil, for frying
- Using a box grater, coarsely grate the potatoes, carrot, parsnip, turnip and onion.
- Line a medium bowl with cheesecloth and place all of the grated vegetables inside the cloth. Wring out veggies thoroughly in cloth to squeeze out any liquid. Transfer veggies to another bowl. Discard liquid, adding any starch that has settled on the bottom of the bowl back to the veggies.
- Toss in all of the remaining ingredients except the oil until completely incorporated.
- Heat 1/4-inch layer of vegetable oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, scoop 1/3 cup balls of vegetable mixture and drop into pan.
- Using a flat spatula, smash each to flatten into a pancake.
- Cook, flipping once, until crisp and nicely golden, 2-3 minutes per side, and then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
- Serve with desired dips or accompaniments.
Pursue a career cooking and baking with vegetables in ICE's Health-Supportive Culinary Arts program.