Although there are many great Hanukkah traditions, one of our favorites is the Latke!
Did you know that the potato pancakes, known as Latkes, actually descend from Italian cheese pancakes? The first connection between Hanukkah and pancakes was made by a rabbi in Italy named Rabbi Kalonymus ben Kalonymus (c. 1286-1328). According to The Encyclopedia of Jewish Food by Gil Marks, the Rabbi included pancakes “in a list of dishes to serve at an idealized Purim feast, as well as a poem about Hanukkah.”
Modern potato latkes are a more recent Ashkenazi invention that gained popularity in Eastern Europe during the mid 1800′s. A series of crop failures in Poland and the Ukraine led to mass planting of potatoes, which were easy and cheap to grow. Thus the modern latke was born (and we are so grateful for this because that are so yummy!)
Enjoy your last two days of Hanukkah by recreating history and making latkes with your family! The following recipes can be made for toddlers and children who have already had experience in eating solid foods.
We know it’s hard to stray from tradition, but the following healthy latke recipes are filled with nutrition and also incredibly delicious!
Carrot Potato Latkes
Makes: about 3 to 4 dozen, depending on size
- 3/4 cup quick-cooking oats or quinoa flakes
- 6 medium-large organic potatoes, grated (golden or red-skinned,
- peeled or not; scrub well)
- 1 medium carrot, grated
- 1 medium onion, grated
- 1/2 cup matzo meal (or 1/2 cup additional quinoa flakes)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Safflower or other high-heat vegetable oil for frying
- Applesauce for serving
- In a heatproof bowl, combine the oats or quinoa flakes with 1 1/2 cups boiling water. Stir and set aside while preparing the other ingredients.
- Use a food processor to make the grating of the potatoes, carrot, and onion, much easier and quicker!
- Combine the grated potato, carrot, and onion, and matzo meal in a mixing bowl. Stir in the oatmeal, then season with salt and pepper.
- Heat just enough oil to coat the bottom of a large, nonstick skillet or griddle. Drop enough potato batter to form 2 1/2- to 3-inch pancakes.
- Fry on both sides over medium-high heat until golden brown and crisp.
- Optional: serve with some plain applesauce on top!
The oats may seem like an odd addition to the recipe but they work perfectly at holding the pancake together while adding a little fiber into the recipe!
Ingredients (makes 10 Latkes)
- 21/2 cups grated zucchini
- 1 cup grated onion
- 1/2 cup chickpea flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Olive oil
- Place grated vegetables in a colander for 30 minutes to drain. Wrap in paper towels and squeeze out excess moisture.
- In a large bowl, mix zucchini, onion, chickpea flour and spices until just combined. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Heat large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add enough oil to coat.
- Remove batter from refrigerator, pouring off any excess liquid. Using a tablespoon, drop batter onto pan to form 2-inch rounds. Flatten with a spatula and cook 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until brown and crisp.
Enjoy the health benefits of Zucchinis by making these latkes:
Vitamin C- helps strengthen the immune system (and many other things as well!)
Vitamin A- for vision, a healthy immune system, and cell growth.
Potassium- necessary for many of your organs to work properly
Folate- important for maintaining your cell’s metabolism and for allowing cell growth
Manganese- an important trace mineral and essential nutrient for building and maintaining bone structure.
Involve your kids in making these unique latkes and maybe even tell them a few interesting facts about how latkes originated (can be found earlier in this post)!
Written by: Dana Stretchberry