Grandma Rose’s Traditional Latkes
Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes
No Hanukkah spread is complete without these delicious traditional latkes.
2 cups olive oil
½ cup matzo meal
6 large Russet potatoes
1 small sweet onion
4 large egg whites
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
- Place the oil in a deep sided saucepan or sautoir and heat over medium heat until it reaches 360°F. Reduce heat to low.
- Pulse the matzo meal in a spice grinder or a food processor until a fine powder.
- Set up four paper plates lined with paper towels.
- Peel and halve the potatoes. Using the finest side of a box grater, grate the potatoes into a large mixing bowl. Remove the grated potatoes in batches and squeeze gently over the sink. Place back in the mixing bowl.
- Grate the onion on the finest side of the box grater into the mixing bowl. Scoop the potato and onion mixture into your hands, in batches, and squeeze gently over the sink and place the squeezed mixture into another mixing bowl.
- Add the egg whites to the potato mixture and blend well. Add the matzo meal, salt, and baking powder and mix thoroughly.
- Check the temperature of the oil. It must stay between 355°F and 370°F during the frying.
- Using a large tablespoon or ice cream scoop, place 2 tablespoons mixture into the hot oil. Flatten the pancakes with the back of a spoon or the scoop to measure 3 to 4 inches in diameter. Repeat, being careful to avoid crowding the pan, checking the oil temperature with each addition as the temperature will drop.
- Gently flip the pancakes when the bottom edges turn deep caramel brown. Remove to plates covered in paper towels to allow excess oil to drain. Serve immediately.
Patience is rewarded in making these latkes. Crowding the pan is very tempting, but it will reduce the oil temperature resulting in soggy, greasy latkes. Make approximately 3 at a time, leaving room to flip and reducing the chance of splattering and overlapping. The oil will behave differently from the first fry to the last, shimmering differently, losing temperature and becoming mucky. Skim out any bits that float off the previous batches, add more clean oil and allow the pan to come back up to frying temperature before proceeding.