Latkes are a traditional and delicious dish most commonly enjoyed during the Jewish holiday Hanukkah. Potato latkes are cooked in oil and enjoyed on Hanukkah to commemorate the miracle that a single cruse of oil, enough to burn for one day, found in the temple lasted for eight nights.
Our potato latkes recipe uses traditional ingredients, such as matzo meal and potato starch, to help the latkes bind together nicely. A combination of peanut oil and schmaltz is used for frying. The high smoke point of the peanut oil stands up well against the heat and prevents the potato latkes from sticking to the pan, while the schmaltz adds a rich, savory flavor.
We opted to utilize a food processor to shred our potatoes to save time, but feel free to use a hand grater if you'd prefer. Don't forget to pair your crispy latkes with a side of tangy sour cream and sweet applesauce for an unforgettable treat!
Wash and dry the potatoes. Leaving the peels on, chop the potatoes, and place them in a food processor with a shredding or grating attachment. Next, finely chop the shallot and place in a small bowl. Set aside.
Place the potato shreds in the center of a thin tea towel or several layers of cheesecloth. Twist the cloth into a pouch and squeeze the moisture. Next, place the pouch into a sieve, allowing the potatoes to continue to drain for the next 15 minutes.
After the potatoes have drained, transfer them to a large bowl. Using a fork stir in the chopped shallots, matzo meal, beaten eggs, potato starch, salt, and pepper until well combined.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, add about 1/4 inch of peanut oil and the schmaltz to 365 degrees.
Using about 2-3 tablespoons of the potato mixture, form tightly compacted disks with your hands. Gently place the latkes into the oil and fry 2-3 minutes per side or until crispy and golden brown.
Transfer the fried latkes to a wire cooling rack over a paper towel to drain excess oil. Serve the latkes warm, with a side of sour cream and applesauce. Enjoy!
If you're wondering, "what is schmaltz?" We have you covered. Schmaltz is rendered fat, usually chicken, duck, or goose fat. Schmaltz gives latkes a deep savory flavor, unlike oil alone. Schmaltz can be prepared at home or you can purchase a bottle at your local grocer or online through Thrive Market.