Hanukkah is here, and in our home that means my husband Jeff spends a few days making his perfect vegan latkes (sometimes called potato pancakes, and pronounced “laht-kuhs“). All traditional latkes contain shredded or ground potatoes. Many contain onions and eggs. They are fried in oil (cooking with oil is one of the things you do during Hanukkah to celebrate the miracle of having eight days of oil to light the flame in the temple in Jerusalem after it had been taken back from Syrian-Greek soldiers).
Jeff’s latkes are made without eggs. He came up with this recipe several years ago when our oldest child was ready to enjoy holiday latkes but couldn’t eat eggs due to her allergies. These potato pancakes are delicious, and people remember them all year long, looking forward to Hanukkah so that he’ll make them again.
6 medium russet potatoes
2 medium onions
1/3 cup egg replacer (1/3 cup water and a tablespoon of ground flaxseed, well stirred)
1/4 cup matzoh meal or plain unflavored bread crumbs
1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons of salt to taste
ground pepper to taste
Peel the potatoes. Cut three of them into large pieces. Add the cut potatoes and 1 1/2 onions to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process until very finely chopped.
Transfer the finely chopped potatoes to a blender. Add the water and flaxseed mixture. Blend until well liquified.
Add the remaining onion to the food processor and chop.
Change the food processor blade to a coarse grater. Grate the remaining potatoes.
Mix the shredded potatoes, chopped onion and blended mixture to a large bowl. Add the salt and pepper and mix together with a spoon.
Heat a large fry pan over medium heat for a few minutes until a drop of water sizzles in the pan. When the water has evaporated, add a generous amount of vegetable oil. Make sure you have about 1/4″ in there. Jeff thinks that peanut oil would work well, but we don’t use it because of allergies, so we stick with canola or safflower oil.
After the oil goes into the hot pan, it should heat up quickly. Carefully a spoonful of latkes mixture to the pan, spacing the spooned mixture an inch apart. You can make silver dollar sized pancakes or go larger. Let the latkes simmer in the oil. When the edges are browned, flip them over and let them cook undisturbed on the other side. Only flip them once. Each side will be dark golden brown when they are ready. Remove them from the pan and place on paper towels to absorb extra oil.
Many people eat latkes with apple sauce and sour cream because it’s a good flavor combination. I prefer them plain, sometimes straight from the serving plate to my mouth!