This is one of the most famous of Jewish foods and a specialty of Hanukkah. The latkes are served as an appetizer, as a side dish, and even for tea with a sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar. They can be marvelous if properly prepared, just before eating.
2 large eggs
2 lbs (1 kg) potatoes
oil for frying
Peel and finely grate the potatoes. Put them straight into cold water, then drain and squeeze them as dry as you can by pressing them with your hands in a colander. This is to remove the starchy liquid, which could make the latkes soggy.
Beat the eggs lightly with salt, add to the potatoes, and stir well. Film the bottom of a frying pan with oil and heat. Take serving-spoonfuls, or as much as 1/4 cup (50 ml), of the mixture and drop into the hot oil. Flatten a little, and lower the heat so that the fritters cook through evenly. When one side is brown, turn over and brown the other.
Lift out and serve very hot.
Reprinted with permission from The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey from Samarkand to New York (Knopf).
Pronounced: KHAH-nuh-kah, also ha-new-KAH, an eight-day festival commemorating the Maccabees’ victory over the Greeks and subsequent rededication of the temple. Falls in the Hebrew month of Kislev, which usually corresponds with December.