Hanukkah falls this year November 27- December 5, and I’m celebrating the Jewish Festival of Lights this Meatless Monday by making sabroso potato latkes.
I learned how to make vegetarian latkes from Chef Barry Koslow of DGS Delicatessen in Washington, DC who volunteered to teach a cooking lesson in my classroom during Growing Healthy Schools Week. He shared that latkes are a part of his family’s Jewish tradition and showed us how to make them from scratch.
Chef Koslow emphasized that cooking with fresh ingredients is always healthier than processed alternatives and encouraged eager estudiantes to pursue their interest in cooking. My students have not stopped talking about the experience a month later. This student buzz is no surprise. As The Wise Latina Club’s Aundrea Gregg explains in Education Wednesday: A Lesson From Our Business Leaders, community leaders outside of education can have a profound impact on future generations.
Hanukkah Potato Latkes Recipe
- 2 large potatoes
- 1/2 onion
- 2 eggs, beaten (Chef Koslow uses only egg yokes, which have more cholesterol but he prefers the taste)
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Optional garnish: light sour cream and applesauce
- Peel and grate potatoes and onion.
- Place shredded potatoes in a cheesecloth and wring out as much moisture as possible. (No cheesecloth? Use a coffee filter or clean, thin cloth like a pillowcase).
- In a medium bowl stir the potatoes, onion, eggs, flour, and salt.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat until hot. Place large spoonfuls of the potato mixture into the hot oil, pressing down on them to form 1/4 inch thick patties. Let cook for about one minute on each side, until brown.
- Remove from heat and set on paper towels to drain.
- Serve hot and garnish with light sour cream and homemade applesauce.
This recipe is fun to make and delicious! Make your latkes healthier by using egg whites and skipping the sour cream garnish to cut fat and calories. Vegan? Try this recipe.
Hanukkah is an important eight-day Jewish holiday which commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in the 2nd century BC when a small group of Jews, the Maccabeans, revolted against Greek rulers who had forbidden Jewish religious practice. When they prevailed, the Maccabeans’s first action was to re-light the menorah with a day’s worth of oil they found in the temple, which miraculously lasted for eight days. Latkes are shared at Hannukah because as a food cooked in oil, they remind observers of this miracle.
Judaism and Latin America share a rich history, dating back to the Spanish Inquisition when many Jews settled in the Americas after being persecuted and exiled from Spain. Today, approximately 500,000 Latinos are Jewish and live across the region, with large communities in Argentina and Brazil. In the United States, Miami has a large concentration of Jewish Latinos who immigrated from Cuba in the 1960s.
Good food is my favorite way to celebrate culture. Serve latkes this Hanukkah week, and you will want these appetizers on your menu all year long!
¿Need Meatless Monday inspiration? Click here to read more of my recipes.
A teacher by day, The Wise Latina Club’s Natalie Wagner Fierro is the co-founder of the Institute for Student Health. She equally loves food (cooking or dining in Washington’s restaurants) and burning calories by distance running, practicing yoga, and archery. Click here to read more about and connect with Natalie.
Edited by: Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.
What festive foods will you be eating this holiday season?