This potato-and-onion pancake recipe is based on one for an Indian fritter that was made by the Mumbai-born mother of Fairfax resident Shulie Madnick. In the 1960s, Madnick's parents immigrated to Israel, where they celebrated Hanukkah for the first time; in India, the Pentateuch (first five books) of the Old Testament was the main guide for conserving Jewish laws and rituals, and the Festival of Light appeared in writings after that.
Madnick updates her mom's recipe by changing the vegetables in the latke mix and by creating Indian-inspired fruit sauces beyond the usual latke accompaniment of applesauce. Chickpea flour (also known as besan or garam flour) is called for here; it is available at Indian and Middle Eastern markets and online. It keeps these latkes gluten-free.
If you have time to make it, serve with Madnick's Pear, Lime and Cardamom Sauce (see related recipe online). To complete these in a Dinner in Minutes time frame, use 2 large skillets.
Yield: Makes 16 medium pancakes
- 2 medium potatoes (1 pound total)
- 2 small onions
- 1 small jalapeno or serrano chili pepper
- 1/2 cup canola oil, or more as needed
- 1 cup chickpea flour (see headnote)
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves
Line a mixing bowl with several layers of paper towels, allowing them to hang over the sides of the bowl. Peel and grate the potatoes (a food processor fitted with a shredding disk works fast), adding them to the bowl as you work. Cut the onions in half, then into very thin slices. Stem and seed the pepper, then cut it lengthwise into very thin strips (julienne).
Divide the oil between 2 large skillets; heat over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers.
Preheat the oven to the lowest setting. Line one baking sheet with parchment paper and place one wire cooling rack on top of a second baking sheet.
Whisk together the chickpea flour and water in a separate large mixing bowl to form a smooth batter. Whisk in the egg until well incorporated, then add the salt, turmeric, cumin and crushed red pepper flakes.
Use the paper towels to squeeze as much moisture as possible from the potatoes, then add the potatoes to the batter along with the onions, jalapeno or serrano pepper and the cilantro, stirring to incorporate. Taste, and add salt as needed. The mixture will be a lovely golden color.
Drop a teaspoon of batter into the hot oil in one of the skillets; if the batter sizzles at the edges, the oil is ready.
Scoop separate heaping tablespoons of the latke mixture and drop them into the skillets (4 at a time, in each), flattening them slightly. Cook for a few minutes, until deep golden, then turn them over and cook until crisped and golden on the second side (about 6 minutes total per batch). Transfer to the rack to drain while you drop another batch into the oil; transfer the drained latkes to the parchment-paper-lined baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm. Repeat to use all of the latke mixture.
From Fairfax recipe developer, cooking instructor and food photgrapher Shulie Madnick, who blogs at FoodWanderings.com.
Tested by Shulie Madnick and Bonnie S. Benwick.
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