Yes, I’m Asian And Yes, I Make Latkes

With a houseguest, but still working a full day, I had to figure out what I could whip up really quickly to get everyone fed before they went out for the night. So I turned to my trusty baked kale since it never fails to impress, already marinated short ribs from Fresh Direct that take 5 minutes to cook and last, I remembered getting a bag of russet potatoes in my food delivery by accident, so I thought why not make some latkes? Latkes aren’t hard to make at all, but they can be a bit time consuming if you are a lazy grater. But I grated like my life depended on it, so during the time I made all of the kale and short ribs, 12-14 latkes were also made. If you love potatoes or love anything fried, then definitely whip up some of these up. Sometimes if I’m just cooking for myself, I’ll make a plate of them and just have latkes for dinner. I guess it also seemed fitting for me to make them since Hanukah just passed and they are usually eaten during Jewish holidays. I made up these measurements in my head, but luckily the diners were pleased and everything was gobbled down. The guest of honor even made a very nice comment after taking his first bite. Granted he did sound surprised, humphhhhh, but a compliment is still a compliment, right?

One thing to keep in mind, I like my latkes smaller and thinner than the ones that you would get at say, a kosher deli because I like having a crunch to them.

Ingredients for 12-14 latkes

7 potatoes (I had russet so that’s what I used)

1 medium onion

1 TBS of flour

1 big pinch of salt

Fresh ground pepper

Enough oil to fry in but it doesn’t have to cover the latkes

A big bowl of cold water

Lots of paper towels

Now What?

Grate 5 of the potatoes on the big hole and the last 1 1/2 on a smaller hole. I wish I could tell you why, but it’s 1AM in the morning as I write this and I just can’t remember right now, lol. So I’m sorry. Put all the grated potatoes in the bowl of water so that they don’t oxidize and turn an ugly grey. Grate the onion on the smallest hole and set aside.

Now, start heating up your oil on medium heat. OK, so we are done with that, so lets take an empty bowl that will be big enough to fit all of the potatoes, onions, etc and put a paper towel on the bottom of the bowl. Take handfuls of the grates potatoes and squeeze all of the water out of them and put in the bowl with the paper towel. After each couple of handfuls, layer more paper towels in the new bowl and keep repeated until all the potatoes have been squeeze and transferred to the new bowl. Why the hell are we doing this? We want to try and get all the liquid out because we want the latkes to fry easier. And have you ever accidentally dropped water in hot oil before? Not pleasant!

Let take all of the paper towels out of the potatoes, and what we want to do is toss in the grated onions, flour, salt and a big sprinkling of fresh ground black pepper and mix really well. I always just use my hands. When you feel that you have done the best mixing that you can ever do, we are ready to start frying. How can you tell if the oil is hot enough? Take a tiny pinch of the latke mixture and throw it in the oil. If you see it frying and turning golden, then you are golden too. Turn the heat down to like a low-medium and lets get started.

Take a small handful and pat it down in your hands till it is as big as the cap to a mayonnaise jar and about 1/2 inch thick. Gently place it into the oil, don’t throw it in because you don’t want to splatter oil on yourself. You can definitely do more than one at the same time, just don’t crowd them, make sure they all have room. When the bottom side is nice and golden, flip it. When both sides are a golden brown, take out the latkes and let the oil drain on paper towels. Repeat until all of the batter is gone.

When you are ready to serve, make sure to put out sour cream and apple sauce for your guests to eat with the latkes.

-Joyce Huang

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