Latkes for Chanukah

The festival of lights, i.e. Chanukah, has just begun for Jewish people all around the world.  The holiday’s famous delicacy is called, “Latkes,” (pronounced: lot-kah, or lot-keys), which is a fried potato pancake usually accompanied by sour cream and applesauce.

Besides being scrumptiously and out-of-control tasty, Latkes are relatively high in calories and saturated fat.  This is mainly due to the oil used to fry, and the side-dollop of sour cream used to dip.

Easy ways to make latkes healthy but still taste good are to cook with mono- and poly-unsaturated oils, such as canola oil.  Additionally, choosing a low-fat sour cream significantly reduces the saturated fat and calorie content without compromising taste. One latke is deceptively high in calories:

Here’s a recipe to try, taken from epicurious:

Yield: Makes 12 to 16 latkes

Active time: 45 min

Total time: 45 min


  • 1 pound potatoes
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil
  • Accompaniments: sour cream and applesauce


Preheat oven to 250°F.

Peel potatoes and coarsely grate by hand, transferring to a large bowl of cold water as grated. Soak potatoes 1 to 2 minutes after last batch is added to water, then drain well in a colander.

Spread grated potatoes and onion on a kitchen towel and roll up jelly-roll style. Twist towel tightly to wring out as much liquid as possible. Transfer potato mixture to a bowl and stir in egg and salt.

Heat 1/4 cup oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Working in batches of 4 latkes, spoon 2 tablespoons potato mixture per latke into skillet, spreading into 3-inch rounds with a fork. Reduce heat to moderate and cook until undersides are browned, about 5 minutes. Turn latkes over and cook until undersides are browned, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to paper towels to drain and season with salt. Add more oil to skillet as needed. Keep latkes warm on a wire rack set in a shallow baking pan in oven.

Cooks’ notes:

Latkes may be made up to 8 hours ahead.

Reheat on a rack set over a baking sheet in a 350°F oven, about 5 minutes.

Grating the potatoes, soaking them briefly in water, and then squeezing out the liquid (as we’ve done here) keeps the batter from turning brown too quickly.

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