Ask the Expert: Fried Foods for Hanukkah

Going Beyond Latkes

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Question: I always host a big Hanukkah party and make tons of latkes, but this year my party isn't until the 7th day of Hanukkah, and I'm worried my guests will be sick of latkes already. Can you give me some suggestions of other creative fried foods I can make that will still seem appropriate for the holiday?
--Annie, Houston

Answer:
You're right that latkes are delicious, but they can get old by the end of the eight day holiday. Luckily, almost everything is good when fried, so you have plenty of options.

To help narrow things down I consulted with Rick Rodgers, author of more than 35 cookbooks, including Fried & True, Crispy and Delicious Dishes from Appetizers to Desserts. Here's Rick's advice: "I love latkes as much as (more than!) the next person, but then again, anything that is hot and crunchy has my vote. This Hanukkah, try an international menu with crispy treats from around the world. For starters, consider Thai spring rolls, Chinese egg rolls, or Indian samosas.  These can be made ahead and fried just before serving. For a main course, Mexican flautas must be deep-fried to give them their crusty tortilla shell, and they can easily be made dairy-free. If you care to keep things in the Hebrew culinary sphere, make falafel--I often serve them on a large salad with the tahini dressing, and pita on the side. 

Dessert means fritters of some kind--I love dipping apple and pear wedges in club-soda batter for a dessert that celebrates winter produce. But come on...is it Hanukkah without tayglach?"

I totally agree with Rick, these are all great options for frying. Two other suggestions? If you want to be kind of whimsical, fried matzah (basically matzah brei) and fried herring are also crowd pleasers.

Wow, I am getting both hungry and jealous of your future guests who get to enjoy this fried bounty. Just make sure to leave out lots of napkins for blotting.

Happy Hanukkah!

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