Spice up your Hanukkah with Indian Cauliflower Latkes and Cilantro Chutney

Photo: Samantha Ferraro

By Samantha Ferraro, The Nosher via JTA

Growing up, my mom always made the best latkes. And while I know everyone probably says this about their mom, I maintain her latkes really were the best.

She would stand over the sink shredding and shredding potatoes until night’s end. Then she would insist on squeezing as much water out of the vegetables as possible. And when she thought they were dry, she would squeeze some more. A labor of love, for sure.

Though I get inspired from my mother’s method, I have updated my own latke recipes and techniques with some modern twists. Instead of standing over the sink shredding potatoes till sunlight, my hefty powerhouse food processor does all the work for me. My mom was shocked when I told her I don’t grate them by hand anymore, and I still hear stories of her battle wounds to prove her latke love.

One of the most important tricks for successful latke frying is about prepping. Frying latkes is a messy job. You don’t want to walk away from hot oil, but instead be in control of it.

I always like to have a cookie sheet ready with a cooling rack and then two layers of paper towels. That way I can transfer the latkes directly from the pan to the cooling rack after they come out of the hot oil.

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And no overcrowding the pan – there should be no more than three or four latkes in the pan at one time. This ensures the temperature remains even and cooks up perfectly crispy latkes.

For a fun modern twist, these Indian-spiced cauliflower latkes are a spinoff of one of my favorite Indian dishes, Aloo Gobi. Potatoes and cauliflower are braised with spicy flavors of jalapeno, turmeric and curry. The sauce is a bright cilantro and mint chutney, also easily made in the food processor, and pairs perfectly with the crispy spiced latke.  (Samantha Ferraro is the food blogger and photographer for The Little Ferraro Kitchen.)