I haven’t made latkes yet this season because every day of Hanukkah so far has been above 30 degrees. I live in a Celsius country, so this means we’ve got a warm summer ahead of us. I don’t have a picture for you yet, either, because if I had taken it, the picture would have been of a lonely plate with an raw potato beside it next to a cold and heartless stovetop. I’ll make a picture magically appear at the end of the post when my friends demand latkes then complain about the heat. This happens every year. The stovetop will be hot, and the latkes will be delicious, but the stovetop will still, alas, have no heart and will not understand what a trial it is, frying in this weather.
There are many methods of cooking latkes in Australia. Even my family has three methods: one with onion, one without, and my personal technique. My mother uses a tiny amount of either olive or vegetable oil (but preferably olive) to fry with and I use a half inch of canola oil. I didn’t discover until I was in my twenties that some shocking people deep fry their latkes! I like deep fried latkes, and will eat them anytime. I can’t cook them, though. It would offend my ancestors and my mother would shake her head.
This year someone gave me four litres of canola oil. That’s a lot of latkes. It’s 10.30 pm and my place is still too hot to fry anything. The oil will last until tomorrow…
POTATO LATKES (Gillian’s special-favourite recipe)
6 medium potatoes (raw)
2 big onions (also raw)
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda or baking powder (dry until you need it )
2 eggs (raw)
juice of half a lemon (or a quarter of a very juicy one) (raw and fresh)
tabasco sauce or chili powder to taste (these don’t have to be raw, which is good, considering the tabasco sauce isn’t)
salt and pepper to taste (raw)
enough flour to bind mixture (keep a bit extra, to reduce fluid build-up while cooking) (my flour is raw, dry and totally dull)
canola oil for frying (I don’t feel like commenting on the state of canola oil)
Grate everything that you can (especially don’t grate the eggs). Mix all ingredients together except for the oil and some of the flour. Fry. Serve absolutely immediately with sour cream. It has to be sour cream. Apple sauce doesn’t work with Australian latkes. It’s summer and we’re a dairy country. Sour cream. Trust me.
Gut yontef! (if you celebrate – very few people do, near me, most of these friends who demand I turn my whole home into an oven aren’t Jewish, but they do love their latkes)