Latkes originated in central Europe, and there is a clear similarity between them and foods from the area, such as Swiss roshti, Polish placki, and potato fritters from Germany and Austria with impossible names: kartoffelpuffer and Reibekuchen.
In pancake recipes that preceded the arrival of the potato in Europe, the latkes were made with cheese and zucchini. They appeared, then as now, on Hanukkah holiday tables and were popular among the communities of Spain, Italy and the Balkans.
In the original recipe for latkes, potatoes and onions are finely grated and fried in oil, in memory of the miracle of Hanukkah. Since then, different versions have been created: those made from grated potatoes or boiled potato puree, sweet latkes that are served with sugar on top or salty ones that are served as a first course, hot or cold, with sour cream and dill.
No matter which version you prepare, it is worth frying one pancake to test, taste and correct the seasoning if necessary.
Ingredients for Potato Latkes
For the Batter:
- 2.2 lbs (1 kilogram) potatoes Peeled and coarsely grated (large holes)
- 2 onions Large, coarsely grated (large holes)
- 3 tablespoons flour heaping
- 3 eggs
- Salt (if making savory latkes)
- ground black pepper (if making savory latkes)
- neutral - flavored oil for frying
- Sugar (for sweet latkes)
- 7 oz (200 grams) sour cream (optional)
Prepare the batter:
1. Squeeze out excess moisture from the potatoes and the grated onions between and transfer to a dry bowl.
2. Add flour and eggs. If making savory fritters, season with salt and ground black pepper. Mix till combined.
Fry and Serve:
3. Pour oil into the pan to a height of ⅓ of an inch (1 cm) and heat over a medium-high heat.
4. With a wet spoon take a scoop of the batter, form into a pancake, and slide carefully into the hot oil. Fry until golden and turn. Fry the other side for another 2-3 minutes and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.
5. Fry the rest of the batter in batches - it is important not to fry too many latkes together and to keep enough space between them. If necessary, add oil to the pan between rounds of frying and wait for the oil to heat up before frying another round of pancakes.
6. Serve hot or lukewarm with sour cream as a first course. Alternatively, sprinkle sugar over the fritters if serving as dessert.