Sweet Potato Latkes

Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights, is a minor Jewish holiday. Due to its close proximity on the calendar to Christmas, it gets a lot more attention than may be warranted. Regardless, it’s fun.

Hanukkah is filled with miracles. One is around oil: There was enough oil left in the temple to burn the lamp for just 1 night, but it lasted 8 instead. So we eat lots of fried foods during Hanukkah to remember this miracle. Latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly donuts) are among the more popular choices, and for good reason. Yum!

I like to mix other veggies into my potato latkes. This year I chose to add sweet potatoes into the mix. This recipe framework is gluten-free. The tapioca is important as it serves as a binder and also crisps up well. This framework is also egg-free, but feel free to swap the flax eggs with real ones. Flax eggs start to gel up after about 10 minutes and help with binding.

If you’re making a small batch, a hand grater is fine. Anything over a few potatoes, I break out the food processor with the shredder attachment. And after you grate an onion by hand, you’ll welcome this suggestion afforded by technology.

If you add in white potatoes, you can soak them in ice water to prevent browning, but really, I find this to be an extra and fussy step. I don’t think anyone’s judging me if my fried-to-a-crisp latkes contain some brown shredded potato…

While I typically provide measurements, for this recipe I’m providing a framework because, well, frankly, I just didn’t measure this time around 🙂 Latkes are pretty forgiving, and I will give you some troubleshooting ideas at the end just in case your latkes just aren’t feeling it right out of the bowl and into the pan.

Sweet Potato Latkes

flax “eggs” (1 Tbsp ground flax + 3 Tbsp water per egg; 1 “egg” per every 1-2 pounds potatoes)
several pounds sweet potatoes, shredded
several pounds russet potatoes, shredded (optional; omit for Paleo)
1-2 onions, grated/shredded (add an extra onion for every couple pounds potatoes)
tapioca flour
gluten free flour (I used oat and chickpea)
refined coconut oil, for frying
applesauce and/or sour cream and chives for serving

1. Mix flax eggs in a large bowl, add ample salt and pepper, and set aside for 10 minutes.
2. Pour potatoes and onions into the flax egg bowl and mix well.
3. Start adding in tapioca and other gluten free flours into the potato mix, stirring well (I prefer to glove up and mix with my hand). Continue adding in flours until the mixture starts to hold together briefly if you squeeze it. Do not add too much that all of the liquid in the bowl is completely absorbed.
4. Heat oil in a skillet, using several tablespoons at a time. When oil is hot, drop 2 Tbsp potato batter and gently flatten. Once golden and releasing from the bottom of the pan, flip and cook the other side. Remove and drain on paper towels.

1. Latke won’t come off bottom of pan – either too little oil (you do need a lot!) or it’s not cooked and brown enough and not ready to release.
2. Latke falling apart, batter looks too wet – try adding a few Tbsp more flour to the mixture and try again. For this reason, I like to cook a test latke as the first one and see how that comes out.
3. Latke falling apart, batter looks too dry – add in another flax egg and mix thoroughly.
4. Latke is too greasy – no such thing! 🙂 Just kidding. Drain well on a paper towel.

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