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How to Make Latkes

Growing up, I always looked forward to celebrating Hanukkah with family, presents, games (dreidel), and of course latkes (the best thing to happen to potatoes since French fries). But my all-time favorite holiday has always been Thanksgiving, which makes this year—with the two holidays falling so close together—basically the best thing ever. It's enough to make me feel like Seth Cohen (any other OC lovers?)—only instead of Christmakkuh, it's Thanksgivikkah.

Even if you won’t be celebrating Thanksgivikkah this year, spice up your regular Turkey Day feast by adding latkes to the mix. To get you ready, here's the recipe my family always uses, handed down from my great grandmother.


What you’ll need:

A 5-pound bag of medium potatoes (equals about 10 potatoes)
1 ½ large onions
3 eggs
¼ cup flour (You may need extra to keep cakes together)
Vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
1 jar of applesauce

1. Wash and peel the potatoes and onions.

2. [Ed note: Put on an apron, things might get messy.] Grate the potatoes into a large bowl. You’ll want to use the larger side of the grater to get the right size shreds. Note: Your potatoes might start to look a little brown in the bowl. That's just them reacting as they hit the air.

3. Grate the onions into a separate mixing bowl.

4. This next step is very important. To get the crispiest latkes, it's essential to drain the water out of the grated potatoes. Get another mixing bowl and a fine strainer, then scoop the grated potatoes into the strainer. Use a smaller bowl and press it on top of the potatoes to get all of the water out. Once you’ve drained that section, put it all into a fresh bowl.

5. As you’re finishing up straining, prep your skillets (and open some windows if you have a sensitive fire alarm). Turn your burners to medium/high and add enough vegetable oil to coat the pan.

6. Mix your strained potatoes, onions, flour, and eggs, plus salt and pepper (about ten grinds each).

7. Now it’s time to start cooking! I prefer smaller latkes (a little bigger than a silver dollar) because that ensures that they get nice and crispy. Pick up the potato mixture with your hands and press it into a flat, circular shape, adding flour if they aren't staying together.

8. Depending on the size of your skillet, cook about 3-5 latkes at a time. You should begin to see the bottoms start to brown and crisp. After a minute or two flip over. If they're not cooking all the way through before the bottoms brown, then they're probably too thick.

Finished Latke 9. Once both sides are done, transfer them to a cookie sheet or large plate that is covered in a paper towel to soak up some of that extra oil. Remember to add more oil to the pan for each new batch.

10. After they are all made, arrange on a plate and serve with a side of applesauce (trust me—it’s delicious combination). Playing dreidel is also highly encouraged.

– Sarah Wormser

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