Every year I create a new latke recipe for the Hanukkah season. Potatoes are so last year, but inspiring roots and vegetables is the trend now!
One of my favorite treats are plantain chips! Put a bag in front of me and it’s over. I blame my East Coast childhood for my addiction to Latin flavors. Sweet and salty plantains, deep flavors of paprika and sazon and rice and beans are all my jam.
So with my deep love affair with Latin cuisine, I took this idea as inspiration for this year’s latke creation. Plantains fry up beautifully as most may know from eating crispy plantain chips or tostones. To add a bit of depth, smoky chipotle and paprika are added to the shredded batter and as complement to the savory latkes, a creamy avocado crema to dip the latkes in. Is there anything better?
A few cooking tips: the plantain mix will be a bit sticky, so when frying the latkes, oil the back of your spoon or spatula to gently press the latkes down so it doesn’t stick too much. The thinner the latke is, the crispier it will be, and crispy plantains is exactly what you want.
2 green plantains
¼ of a large yellow onion (or ½ small yellow onion)
2 garlic cloves, grated
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp smoked chipotle
1 whole egg, whisked
¼ cup matzo meal
Salt and pepper, to taste
Canola or grapeseed oil, for frying
1 ripe avocado
¼ cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt is a good substitute)
1 lime, juiced
Small bunch of fresh cilantro leaves (about ½ cup)
Small bunch of fresh parsley leaves (about ½ cup)
1 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp water (for consistency)
Salt and pepper, to taste
First prep your ingredients. Use a paring knife to peel off the tough skin on the plantain and chop into smaller pieces, but large enough to fit through the feed of a food processor (or you can sue a hand grater if you prefer).
Using a food processor with the small shredding blade, shred the plantains and the onion. Then add the mixture to a bowl and grate 2 garlic cloves, add the egg, matzo meal and spices and mix everything together well.
Next, heat a large frying pan with enough canola oil to coat the bottom and allow to come up to about 360 degrees F, or you can test it with a small piece of batter and if it sizzles, it’s ready.
Then spoon a tablespoon-sized amount of latke mixture into the pan, and slowly add it to the hot oil. Lightly grease the back of your spoon and gently press down on the latke so it fries up evenly. I add about 3-4 latkes to a large skillet.
Fry on first side until golden brown and crispy, about 3-4 minutes then use a spatula to carefully flip over and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes until crispy.
Once done, remove to a paper towel-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt as soon as they are done frying.
To make the avocado crema, add the avocado, sour cream, lime juice, herbs and spices to a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth. Add a bit a water to make it a creamier consistency.
When everything is done, serve the latkes with avocado crema and garnish with additional cilantro.
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.