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Posted on Sun, Dec 13, 2009 : 7 a.m.

Eating latkes on the 3rd night of Chanukkah

By Mary Bilyeu

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Latkes -- potato pancakes -- are one of my very favorite foods. (Fried potatoes -- what more could I ask for, when I'm 1/4 Irish with the soul of a yenta???) Fortunately -- thanks to the abundance of oil that they require -- they are a mandatory offering during Chanukkah celebrations, and can be served on any (or all!) of the 8 nights of the holiday.

Mary Bilyeu, Contributor

Latkes must be served with both applesauce and sour cream, the standard accompaniments, as settling for either one or the other is insufficient. And while others may choose to serve their latkes with pesto or with chutney or some other such concoctions, this is one area where I am a vehement traditionalist!

Of course, it's also traditional to make the batter by mixing grated potatoes with onion, egg, and flour or matzah meal; but I use a convenient Manischewitz mix as the base, adding some freshly grated potatoes to get nice, crispy edges rather than a softer, rounder pancake. Manischewitz has been good to me, having selected me as a semi-finalist in its 2nd Annual Simply Manischewitz Cook-Off; so I try to use their products when I can ... especially in my trials for the upcoming 4th Annual Cook-Off that I hope to be selected for!

Latkes have absolutely no redeeming nutritional value -- they are simply good for your soul. Eat them hot, fresh out of the oil ... there is little in life that can make you so happy ... :)

Fuzzybutt in Latke Sweater.JPG

Even Fuzzybutt loves latkes!

Mary Bilyeu, Contributor


2 eggs 2-1/4 cups water 1 6-ounce box Manischewitz potato pancake mix 1 teaspoon kosher salt 3 cups grated baking potatoes (as much liquid as possible pressed from them) or frozen hash browns lots of oil for frying

In a medium bowl, beat eggs; stir in water. Add the potato pancake mix and salt, then stir to combine; let batter rest for 5 minutes, then add the grated potatoes.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. (If you want to pretend that this is health food, just lightly coat the skillet with oil. If you want the full latke experience, pour the oil 1/4" deep and be sure to refill the skillet for each batch, if needed.)

Scoop the batter by 1/4-cupfuls into the oil and fry until golden brown, about 4-5 minutes per side. Repeat until the batter is all gone. Makes 12 latkes.

Serve hot with sour cream and applesauce.


10 large apples, peeled, quartered, cored, cut into 1/2" dice 1 cup apple cider 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon 1/4 cup brown sugar

Place all ingredients into a medium saucepan and cook, covered, over medium-low heat for 15 minutes until apples are very tender. Using a potato masher, mash the apples until they have absorbed the remaining liquid and you have a slightly chunky applesauce.

Mary Bilyeu has won or placed in more than 60 cooking contests and writes about her adventures as she tries to win prizes, feeds hungry teenagers and other loved ones, and generally just has fun in the kitchen. The phrase "You Should Only Be Happy" (written in Hebrew on the stone pictured next to the blog's title) comes from Deuteronomy 16:15, and is a wish for all her readers as they cook along with her ... may you always be happy here!

You can contact Mary at



Sun, Dec 13, 2009 : 5:14 p.m.

My version of Latkes low fat is to cook them on a griddle and lightly fry them in oil and drain for cripness. Also, plain yogurt, not sour cream to keep the fat out off the table. Otherwise, Matzo Ball Chicken soup, Latkes, blintzes, meat and cheese thru out this holiday. We do the presents at Xmas time. Cheaper to do it this way. Happy Cahnukkah and Merry Xmas everyone!

Joel Goldberg

Sun, Dec 13, 2009 : 10:16 a.m.

Mary, as a latke purist I'd omit the Manichewitz but include a half-cup of grated onion, three tablespoons of matzo meal, a tablespoon of baking powder, and a half-teaspoon of black pepper. And a slightly off-dry Michigan Riesling goes wonderfully with latkes!


Sun, Dec 13, 2009 : 8:40 a.m.

I love latkes!!! Thanks for the recipe. BTW, i have tried to cook a "healthy" version of latkes by baking them in an oven. I sprayera thin layer of canola oil on to a pyrex baking pan, and then placed the batter in it,and baked at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes. Turned out OK, not as tasty as frying them in oil in a cast iron skillet, but they were good, nonetheless. :):)