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Savti's Latkes Print E-mail
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Latkes are traditionally made on Hanukkah to celebrate the miracle of the oil in the lamps in the Temple in Jeruselem. Our guest cook, Dana tells the story in Hanukkah Traditions.

The word for grandmother in Hebrew is Savta but Dana and her two older brothers call their grandmother Savti. This recipe has been handed down from Dana's great grandmother Yetta Levin to her grandmother Florence who's going to teach it to us. Your family may have a different recipe so ask the elders in your family to share it with you.

Corn oil is traditional but you can use canola oil as a healthier alternative.

{Makes 18 latkes}

You'll need:

  • 6 Russet potatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 cup of corn oil or canola oil
  • A LOT of help from grandma or another adult

Equipment:

  • Measuring spoons
  • 2 large bowls
  • Potato peeler
  • A sharp knife
  • Potato grater or food processor with a shredding blade
  • Cheesecloth or a small muslin bag
  • A large skillet
  • A large spoon
  • A spatula
  • Paper towels
    1. Savti begins the recipe by peeling the potatoes and soaking them in cold water for several hours. You don't have to do this step but if you want the authentic flavor it's a must.
    2. When you're ready to start the meal drain the potatoes and pat them dry.
    3. Next, grate the potatoes very coarsely and squeeze as much moisture as possible out of them.  Savti has a little cloth sack that her mother, Yetta, and originally held salt. You can use several layers of cheese cloth or a bag out of muslin.
    4. Toss out the potato water and put the potato pulp into a clean bowl.
    5. Add the eggs, flour, baking powder and salt to the grated potatoes. Mix well.
    6. Grate the small onion and add to the mix. Give the batter a good stir.
    7. Pour about ½ an inch of oil in the bottom of the skillet and let it heat.
    8. Put the oven on the lowest setting. You'll keep the latkes warm in the oven until they're ready to go to the table.
    9. In order for the potato pancakes to cook through, the oil needs to get really hot. So this is the step that the adult needs to do. You can watch and take mental notes for the future. Ask your grandmother to spoon enough batter into the oil to make a pancake about 3 inches across. Have her press each pancake down so that they will be thin and crisp. As they are pressed, the pancakes should get to be about 4 inches across.
    10. After about 3 minutes, Grandma should lift a corner of the first pancake with the spatula and see if it's browned. If it is she should flip the pancake over. Repeat for as many pancakes as you have in the skillet.
    11. While the other side is browning, Grandma should press the pancake down again. The idea is to get as much contact between the latke and the pan.
    12. Meanwhile, you can prepare a plate with several layers of paper towel for the latkes to drain on.
    13. When the latkes are ready, have Grandma lift each one out of the oil and let it drip for a few seconds then transfer it to the waiting plate. Put the plate in the oven while the other latkes are cooking.
    14. Use oven mitts to carry the hot plate of latkes to the table and put them down on a trivet.
    15. Serve with sour cream, apple sauce or jelly. Just like Great-grandma Yetta used to make!

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