At Hanukkah we eat Latkes to remember the importance of oil.
In 200BC the Holy Land, Judea, was ruled by the Seleucids, who tried to force the people of Israel to worship Greek gods, accept Greek practices and forget their traditional ways.
Then, the Maccabees, led by Judah the Maccabee, defeated the Greeks, one of the mightiest armies on earth! The Maccabees reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and rededicated it to the service of God.
To do this, they needed to light the Temple’s Menorah – but they only had enough oil for 1 night. This wasn’t enough time to make more oil. However, the Hanukkah miracle occurred and the oil lasted for 8 days! This gave the Maccabees time to make new oil, and save the Temple.
Oil is very important to this story -so eating food cooked in oil became a tradition!
Here is Hedley bearmonkey’s recipe for making Latkes!
1 large onion
1 cup of bread crumbs
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tbsp of potato starch (you can use corn flour if you have it!)
Salt and pepper to taste
oil for frying
1.) Peel and grate the potatoes. Put the potato into a tea-towel and squeeze out all the water that you can! You might like to do this in batches. Once you have squeezed all the water out, put the potato into a bowl.
2.) Finely chop the onion into very thin slices
3.) Mix the onion into the grated potatoes to make sure they are evening mixed (you don’t want a big onion-y bite!)
4.) Now mix in the breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, potato starch, beaten eggs. Mix all the ingredients together. If it isn’t sticky enough – add a little more potato starch.
5.) Take a large spoonful of mixture and shape it into a flat patty – a bit like a small burger! You can roll it in a ball – then squash it flat!
6.) Carefully heat the oil. It is hot enough when a little bit of potato dropped in sizzles!
7.) Put your latkes into the oil. Be gentle – they can break up very easily!
8.) Cook on one side for 2 mins or until golden brown. Then using a spatula, carefully flip them over.
9.) Remove golden latkes and place them on some paper towel to absorb any extra oil.
10.) Serve your latkes as they are, or with a sprinkle of salt!