Hanukkah is NOT “Jewish Christmas.” In fact, Hanukkah precedes Christ’s birth by 165 years! Hanukkah is celebrated on the 25th of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar, which puts it sometime in December but the date on our calendar varies from year to year.
The holiday is an 8-day commemoration of a miracle. The miracle of the oil. You see, Israel was overrun by the Syrians. While under siege, they were forbidden to worship God. In fact, their temple was desecrated by the evil Syrian king, Antiochus. So, the heroic Judah Macabee and his sons lead a 3 year fight to regain control of their land and the temple. When they won, there was only 2 days worth of holy oil left to burn the lights in the temple. But the Lord honored their faith. God miraculously caused that oil to burn bright for 8 days until more holy oil could be found. Thus, the Festival of Lights!
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Well, I am also proof that you don’t have to be Jewish to make them or love them. In fact, I hid three leftover latkes for myself and that was today’s lunch!
Here is our family recipe and some tips to make it right even on your first try!
Classic Potato Latkes
8 pounds of raw potatoes, peeled & grated
1 3/4 onion, grated
3 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 cups white flour
Cooking oil for frying
If you will be serving this for a party, you will want to peel them in advance. Store the peeled potatoes in cold water in the refrigerator to keep them from turning color.
Cut the potatoes in large pieces and put them in a blender filled with cold water.
Grate the potatoes till fine.
Strain the water and press the potato to get the excess water out.
Put the grated potato in a very large mixing bowl.
Grate the onion in the same container, till fine.
Add eggs, salt, pepper and flour and mix well with a large spoon.
Heat the oil in a big skillet (or two) on high.
DO NOT LEAVE THE STOVE.
Hot oil is a fire hazard!
Gently spoon large “blops” of the batter into the hot oil.
Fry until one side is brown.
Using a long handled spoon and a knife in the other hand to steady it,
gently flip the latkes onto the other side.
As each side is golden brown and crisp, move them onto a paper-towel lined platter.
After the oil drains off a bit, either put them on a cookie sheet in the oven on 200ºF to keep them warm or move them to a serving platter and serve immediately.
Do you celebrate Hanukkah?
What dishes do you serve?