Sweet Potato Latkes with Gochujang Pear Sauce
Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser
Prep Time: 25 minutes Cooling Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 50 minutes
Potato pancakes get an update when they’re made with sweet potatoes and served with a sauce made from sweet Asian pears and gochujang, the sweet-hot, fermented chili paste from Korea.
Gochujang Pear Sauce:
3 Asian pears (about 1¼ pounds)
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon gochujang paste
Sweet Potato Latkes
4 large sweet potatoes (about 4 pounds)
4 egg whites
6 tablespoons rice flour
1 medium sweet onion, grated
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup olive oil
- Start the sauce: Peel, core, and grate the Asian pears and place them in a small saucepan. Add the brown sugar, set over medium-high heat, and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until mushy, watching carefully to be sure they don’t burn on the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat and set aside. (If you wish, the fruit can be made ahead of time and refrigerated in a covered container for up to 3 days).
- Prepare the latkes: Peel the potatoes and grate them in a food processor fitted with a shredding blade. (You can grate them by hand if you wish, but the processor is easier.) Place the grated potatoes on a microwave-safe plate and microwave at high power for 45 seconds (see Kitchen Tips). Carefully remove from the microwave and let cool for about 10 minutes, until cool to the touch.
- Whisk the eggs whites and rice flour in a large bowl until smooth. Add the potatoes, onions, and salt and mix to combine.
- Pour 2 to 3 tablespoons of the oil into a 10- to 12-inch frying pan—enough to come about ¼ inch up the side. Set over medium heat. Line a platter with paper towels and position it near the stovetop.
- Carefully scoop about 2 tablespoons of the latke mixture into the hot oil, spooning it away from you to avoid splattering yourself with the oil. Gently press down with the spoon to form a 2-inch wide patty. Carefully place 3 more scoops of latke mixture into the oil and press gently to form patties (see Kitchen Tips). Fry for 3 to 4 minutes, until crisped and brown, adjusting the heat if the oil gets too hot and the latkes are in danger of burning. Turn with a spatula and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer to the prepared plate to drain. Repeat with the remaining latke mixture, adding more oil to the pan as needed, and layering the plate with more paper towels as needed.
- Stir the gochujang into the sauce. Serve the sweet potato latkes immediately, with the sauce. Alternatively, these latkes freeze well and may be reheated in the oven at 375°F for 8 to 10 minute.
- Briefly microwaving the grated potatoes makes them sticky enough to stay together when frying but still leaves them in shreds for a nice, lacey texture.
- It’s important not to crowd the pan when you fry these latkes; be sure to arrange your patties in a single layer and leave enough room around them so that you can turn each one without disturbing the others.