Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sweet Potato Latkes with Ginger and Sesame


Oil has been sizzling in the kitchen for the past few days, a sure sign that Hanukkah is here! It’s the time of year to light the hanukkiah and indulge in jelly-filled doughnuts and other fried treats. Latkes are, of course, on the menu many times during these eight days, providing ample opportunity to play with new ideas and recipes. Traditional latkes are made with grated potatoes and onions, and can be served with sour cream and/or applesauce. Over the years I’ve had latkes made with carrots, cabbage, zucchini, apples and even rutabagas. Basically, if you can grate it, you can make it into a latke!


The idea is to grate the fruit or veggies, add seasoning, eggs and a bit of flour and then fry it all up into little pancakes. An oil-spattered stove and the lingering scent of frying are givens when making latkes and are all part of the fun. The mess is worth it, especially when you start nibbling.


I want to share a new recipe with you that I put together for a latke party over this past weekend. The invitation said we should be creative, so I began pondering different ingredients. I adore sweet potatoes and still have many leftover from the massive bag I bought at Thanksgiving, so I knew they would be the basis. I’ve had delicious sweet potato latkes in the past which emphasized the sweetness of the potato. For this batch of latkes I wanted to move in a more savory direction, perhaps with a spicy kick. Freshly grated ginger provided the bite I was hoping for, along with some chopped green onions. A scattering of black sesame seeds rounded out the flavor.


I usually hand grate the potatoes since I prefer this texture, but if you are frying latkes for a crowd then by all means use a food processor to make quick work of it. A nice benefit of using sweet potatoes is that they do not release as much liquid as white potatoes, saving yourself the added step of squeezing out the mixture multiple times.


These speckled little orange pancakes fried up into tasty latkes with a little flavor punch, tender on the inside with lacy, crispy edges. And I’m delighted that they were enjoyed at the latke party!

Sweet Potato Latkes with Ginger and Sesame
Makes 14 - 2 1/2 inch latkes

2 medium sized, orange fleshed sweet potatoes (about 1 1/4 pounds), scrubbed
4 green onions (including the white parts), finely chopped
2 heaping tablespoons freshly grated ginger (or more to taste)
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Canola oil for frying

Using a box grater, grate the potatoes (I leave the peels on) into a large mixing bowl. Add the green onions, grated ginger, sesame seeds, flour and salt. Lightly toss with your fingers to mix. Pour in the eggs and use a wooden spoon to stir together.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels. In a large frying pan, pour about 1/2 inch oil in and heat over medium-high heat. With a large tablespoon, gently place scoops of the potato mixture in the hot oil (the patties should measure about 2 1/2 inches across). Do not crowd the pan. Let the latkes cook for a few minutes until nicely browned before trying to flip (if you try to flip too soon, they will tear and stick to the bottom). When the edge of the latke lifts easily, gently flip it over (be careful for splatters). Fry on the other side until golden brown and crispy.

Remove the latkes to the lined baking sheet to drain. Repeat the latke frying until potato mixture is used up. Adjust the heat as needed (may have to lower a bit if the oil gets too hot and edges start to burn a bit) and add additional oil as needed. Let the latkes drain, and then move them to a platter to serve.

If you are making the latkes ahead of time, store them on paper towels at room temperature and then rewarm on a baking sheet before serving.

24 comments:

  1. Another Asian spin on an Ashkenazic recipe - I love it!

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    1. I do love blending delicious cultures! Hope you and your family are having a fun Hanukkah celebration.

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  2. The flavor combination sounds fantastic. I adore sweet potatoes (and fried things).

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    1. Thank you, Lauren! Lots of fried food this week...I haven't reached my limit quite yet. It's fun to indulge!

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  3. Yummy. I will be trying this one with my gluten free options. Thanks from the Reillys

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    1. My pleasure, Bev! Please let me know how they turn out with gluten free flour - will you use rice flour? I've been using various seed and nut flours lately (I have a lovely new gluten free cookbook) and it's been fun to experiment. Merry Christmas to you and Peter!

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    2. Will certainly let you know how they turn out - I might use a mixture of rice and potato flour. But Besan would add some interesting flavour. There are certainly lots more options for Gluten Free now. Enjoy the experimenting and the seasonal holidays and festivities with the family. We will have everyone home for Christmas - so 2 grandsons will certainly add another dimension to Christmas this year.

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    3. Oh how lovely! Sounds like you have a wonderful Christmas celebration ahead. Sigh, it was one year ago today we left for Australia...what wonderful memories of a special time! So happy we could all gather for Christmas dinner! Nothing like Christmas on the beach, too. :)

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  4. Niiiice! These look wonderful! Can you tell me how to pronounce latke? Is it "latkuh" or "latkey?"

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    1. Thank you, Brooke! I've heard latke pronounced both ways (maybe a regional difference?), but the most common is "latkuh". More for dinner tonight - we're going with the traditional potato and onion. Have you been to Stopsky's (on Mercer Island)? They serve their eggs Benedict on a latke rather than an English muffin...divine.

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    2. No, I haven't but it sounds fantastic! Though I usually steer clear of eggs Benedict in restaurants since they seem to almost always have some sort of meat product in them!

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    3. Yes, meat is definitely the most traditional. We had ours at Stopsky's with lox - such a treat. Often, I'll order eggs Benedict with spinach or tomatoes in place of the meat, as well.

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  5. A creative latke party sounds like fun and I think yours sound terrific.

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    1. Thank you, Karen! It was indeed a fun party, and nice to enjoy lots of latkes without one person having to fry them all. I love seeing different twists on a traditional favorite.

      I'm happy you stopped by here. Merry Christmas!

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  6. I am a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to latkes but these sound worthy of trying! Happy Hanukkah - I hope you are having a great celebration!

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    1. Thanks, Alyssa! I agree, classic potato and onion latkes can't be beat, especially with applesauce (tonight we're adding some homemade creme fraiche). If Hanukkah was only one or two nights that's the only kind I'd make, but with a week of celebration it's fun to play a bit. Kind of the opposite from Thanksgiving when I was agonizing over which holiday dishes to prepare for the one meal! Happy Hanukkah to you and your family!

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  7. Wow, Hannah...these sound wonderful! I like that you took the savory route with the sweet potatoes. I love anything with ginger and sesame, so I have to make these soon.

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    1. Thank you so much, Brianne! I do hope you enjoy them and that you're having a wonderful holiday season!

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  8. Thank you Hannah. I love this recipe. I made it but changed 2 things. I used chick-pea flour so that it would be gluten-free, since my son and I have gluten allergies. I also used coconut oil instead of canola oil. I have stopped using vegetable oils in general since they can be very bad for you. Here's a link that talks about why you should not use vegetable oils: http://wellnessmama.com/2193/why-you-should-never-eat-vegetable-oil-or-margarine/

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    1. Hi Chef Moji - I'm delighted you enjoyed the latkes and happy you shared your changes. I'm glad to know about the chick-pea flour option. Someone was just asking me about a good gluten-free sub for regular flour when making latkes. I've been reading about toasted chick-pea flour in the book Burma (Naomi Duguid) and I want to try it! Also, I appreciate learning more about veg oils. I'm moving towards using more olive oil and coconut oil (I use olive oil in my challah baking now and love it) and this article has good info. Thank you! I hope you're having a lovely holiday season!

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  9. I really love your colorful and more nutritious version of latkes. I just learned about this dish like last week from another blogger. It looks so good, and I love the sweet potato in it. Hope you are enjoying Hanukkah celebration with your family!

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    1. Thank you, Nami! We had a wonderful week of lighting candles, eating latkes and spending time together. Latkes are also delicious for breakfast with a poached egg on top. :)

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  10. What is not to love about a latke??? These look divine!
    Happy New Year Hannah & hope you have a fun & food filled 2013!

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    1. Thank you, Mairi! Wishing you a delicious 2013, too!

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