With the winter holidays coming up, I couldn’t resist sharing this traditional Hanukkah latke (potato pancake) recipe — vegan-style. Frying foods during Hanukkah is an ancient tradition, connected with the oil that was used to light the menorah during this “festival of lights.”
Here is my go-to recipe for making delicious latkes:
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds 4 tablespoons water 4 cups peeled and shredded potatoes (about 5 medium potatoes) 6 scallions, finely chopped 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon cornstarch 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste Canola oil for frying Nondairy sour cream and applesauce, as accompaniments
In a food processor or blender, whip the flax seeds and water together, until it reaches a thick and creamy – almost gelatinous – consistency, about 1 or 2 minutes. This is going to be our “eggs,” which will help provide some binding for our potato pancakes. Set aside.
Spread the grated/shredded potatoes on a kitchen towel or cheesecloth, and roll it up jelly-roll style. Twist the towel tightly to wring out as much liquid as possible. You may need to do this again with a second towel to extract all the water. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
Add the “flax egg” to the potatoes, along with the green onions, flour, and salt. Use your hands to combine the ingredients and to get a feel for the mixture. You want it moist but not too wet.
Heat some oil in a large nonstick sauté pan over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Using a tablespoon, scoop a large spoonful of the potato mixture into the hot oil, pressing down on them to form 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick patties. To make a good medium-size patty, I use two tablespoons, but you can use one.Note: You are not trying to create dense patties, but the batter should stick together enough to form a patty and be flipped without falling apart. Slide a spatula underneath each latke while they’re cooking to make sure they don’t stick to the pan too much.
Brown on one side, turn and brown on the other. You may need to add more oil as you add more latkes to the pan. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to soak up excess oil. Season with additional salt.
Tips from Colleen
Shredded/grated potatoes will oxidize (turn a grayish/brownish color) pretty quickly, so I recommend having your green onions chopped and your “flax eggs” prepared before shredding the potatoes.
Grate/shred the potatoes by hand, or use the special grating blade in your food processor, which is a lot easier and faster.
People. Atmosphere. Beverages. Food. That’s all we need to create a special event, holiday, or meal — but this year, we deserve to go just a little above and beyond to make it EXTRA special. By the end of this episode, you’ll have some ideas for doing just that — whether you’ll be sharing a Zoom meal with out-of-town family or having a small gathering outside and safely distanced.
(NOTE: All of the suggestions apply even if you don’t celebrate a traditional American Thanksgiving.)
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This is a gorgeous, flavorful, seasonal dish that celebrates the harvest of fall and is perfect for Thanksgiving or other autumn or winter holidays. It’s prettiest served in a large pumpkin or in individual hollowed-out baby pumpkins or acorn squash that sit on each guest’s plate. Serves 6 to 8 (Modified from the Stuffed Acorn Squash in The Vegan Table.)
INGREDIENTS – SQUASH & STUFFING
4 acorn squashes 1 sweet potato or yam, chopped and steamed 1 apple, chopped or sliced 2 scallions, white part only 1/2 cup pine nuts or almond slivers, toasted 2 tablespoons finely shredded mint leaves 1/4 cup golden raisins 2 cups Saffron Basmati Rice Pilaf (see below) or brown rice
INGREDIENTS – CURRIED APRICOT DRESSING
1/4 cup apricot preserves 1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar or champagne vinegar 1 tablespoon mild curry powder 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1/3 cup water 2 tablespoons canola oil (optional) Salt to taste
[Tweet “Stuffed Squash with Curried Pilaf — A Perfect No-Turkeys-Were-Harmed Thanksgiving Recipe”]
INGREDIENTS – SAFFRON BASMATIC RICE PILAF
1 yellow onion, finely diced 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 teaspoons olive oil 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds ¼ teaspoon ground pepper 1 teaspoon salt 2 cups brown basmati rice 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads steeped in 1/4 cup warm water 3-1/2 cups vegetable stock
DIRECTIONS – SQUASH
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
The first thing you want to do is cook your acorn squash. The idea is to soften the inside enough to eat it but not make it so soft that you lose the form of your pumpkin.
If you are using acorn squash or another smaller squash, cut it in half, scoop out the seeds (save and toast them!), and place the squash halves face down on a nonstick baking sheet lined with parchment. (No need to brush with oil.) Bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until the flesh is tender and can be pierced with a fork.
DIRECTIONS – RICE PILAF
While the squash is cooking, let’s get the rice going. In a medium saucepan, sauté the onion and garlic in the oil over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the cumin, fennel seeds, pepper, and salt. Sauté for 1 minute. Add the rice and stir constantly for 2 minutes, or until the rice smells fragrant. Add the saffron water, and 3-1/2 cups vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, and cover. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 25 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Remove form heat and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
DIRECTIONS – DRESSING & STUFFING
For the dressing: In a blender or food processor, combine all the ingredients together and blend until thoroughly combined. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve or refrigerate for up to 1 week.
Putting it all together: In a large bowl, combine the rice pilaf, cooked yam, apple, scallions, and pine nuts with the dressing. Distribute evenly among the cooked squash halves. Garnish with mint.