I Have a Little Latke

Chanukah celebrations already well underway, we approach the sixth of eight nights this evening, bringing the holiday ever nearer to a close. Before many people have even had the chance to drag an evergreen tree into their living rooms or sing one carol, menorahs will be cooled and put away for another year. Crazy how fast it’s sped by this time around! I’m still struggling to keep up, injecting extra holiday cheer into what seem like otherwise ordinary winter days. That’s why I’d make the argument that it’s not at all too late for latkes- In fact, the early date of Chanukah means that these luscious potato pancakes should be fair game through the rest of the month, while everyone else is still celebrating Christmas, too.

Hopefully no one expects an average latke out of me by now. This year, my starchy spud cakes are thick, tender on the inside with a crisp exterior, perfumed throughout with rich Indian spices. Inspired by a favorite takeout dish, Bombay Aloo, this nontraditional take on the standard Chanukah staple will make it hard to go back to plain potatoes. Brightened with piquant jalapeno and a complex blend of garam masala, they’re just spicy enough to add excitement without setting the most timid of palates on fire. Pairing beautifully with the standard sour creme, you could also embrace the theme and switch out the typical applesauce for a sweet and savory apple chutney instead. Whatever you do, don’t let this opportunity to enjoy latkes pass you by.

Bombay Aloo Latkes

2 Pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes, Peeled and Shredded
1/2 Small Yellow Onion, Shredded
1 Medium Fresh Jalapeno, Finely Minced
1 1/2 Tablespoons Grated Fresh Ginger
4 Cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
1 1/4 Teaspoons Garam Masala
1 Teaspoon Whole Cumin Seeds, Toasted
3/4 Teaspoon Turmeric
3/4 Teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
1 1/2 Teaspoons Lemon Juice
1/4 Cup Potato Starch or Cornstarch

About 1/4 Cup Canola Oil, for Frying

After running both the potatoes and onion through the shredder (the food processor attachment is easiest, in my opinion) place both in a strainer and press down firmly, extracting as much liquid as possible. No need to get too crazy, but you should be able to remove about 1/3 cup starchy potato water. This will help the shreds hold together better while cooking.

In a large bowl, mix together the minced jalapeno, ginger, garlic, spices, salt, and tomato paste until smooth. Add in the drained potatoes, drizzling them first with the lemon juice before tossing with the seasonings. Stir well to blend the paste throughout, getting in there and using your hands as needed. Sprinkle the cornstarch over last, tossing to coat and evenly distribute throughout the shreds.

Heat about half of the oil in a medium-sized skillet over moderate heat. Once the oil is shimmering, it’s hot enough to start cooking up the latkes. For large, thick potato pancakes, I use about 1/3 cup of firmly packed shreds, using the measuring cup to mold them into an even round. Press the potato puck out lightly, so that it’s about 1 cm thick. For more dainty latkes, use closer to 1/4 cup of loosely packed shreds, flattening them out to about 1/2 cm thick. Cook no more than 3 latkes at one time, giving them all enough space to comfortable flip when the time comes.

Allow the latkes to sizzle undisturbed for about 3 – 5 minutes on each side, flipping only once. When they’re golden brown on both sides, remove the latkes to paper towel-lined plates to drain. Add more oil to the skillet as needed for additional latkes.  Serve immediately, or transfer to a wire rack and store in a 250 degree preheated oven until they’re all cooked and ready.

Makes 10 – 12 Thick Latkes, 16 – 18 Thinner, Smaller Latkes

Printable Recipe



40 thoughts on “I Have a Little Latke

  1. My family likes Indian spices, so I’ll have to try this. We have varying degrees of tolerance for heat: my husband and younger daughter have a very high tolerance and enjoyment, I’m on the low side of the middle and our older daughter has low tolerance. One day while eating with Indian friends (and something that was probably not spicy enough for them), their daughter looked at our older daughter and said, “Shannon, your face is all read.” Shannon was soldiering on valiantly but having a hard time with the heat. :-)

  2. This recipe makes me even more eager to be back in Canada (two more days!), as I’ll have constant access to these “special” ingredients. Way to put a unique spin on these luscious bad boys! Mmm… I heart latkes… My first two boyfriends were Jewish and, I promise you, I cherished every holiday meal with them. Mmm… Happy Hanukkah to you and yours! :-)

  3. Hannah, this is the first time I have actually wanted to eat a latke. Leave it to you to reinvent a traditional (and traditionally greasy, non-delicious) dish in a unique, delectable way.

  4. Gorgeous, Hannah! Finally, a latke I could love–the perfect mix of Indian and latke. ;-) And thank you for making them GF, too! Hope you had/have a very Happy Hanukkah! xo

  5. Wow,I must make these! I have been looking for a different potato latke recipe,and yours sounds perfect.This hanukkah I have made only apple latkes.

    Happy Hanukkah Hannah!

  6. these look brilliant! i’ve been hankering after home made onion bhaji but i might just give these a try instead! Do you happen to know if corn starch is what in the UK and Australia is called cornflour?

    1. Yep, you’ve got it! In the US, we call it cornstarch, but it seems like much of the rest of the world calls it corn flour. Same ingredient, even though in the US, there is also something called corn flour, and that is rather different.

  7. I may not be celebrating Chanukah but you can bet I’ll be indulging in some latkes! I love how these are indian-spiced. Makes them that much better in my opinion!

  8. Gorgeous Latske’s and they look so crispy! A perfect way to celebrate the holiday season. Aloo flavored sounds like the same flavorings I used for my dosa’s with Aloo filling. A perfect flavor combination of spices. Take Care, BAM

  9. This recipe popped in my Facebook feed from Finding Vegan yet I didn’t have time at work to click the link and have a looksie. Luckily it also popped up in my email inbox and here I am!
    These look so beautiful and crispy, I also love that beautiful tablecloth. Delish!

  10. Love your indian vegan recipes…… wish u had a full cookbook out. Thank u so much for sharing. I love the richness..depth..and just total amazement of spices and the taste of indian food. It always transports me to a place one can only dream of sometimes.

  11. And THIS is what keeps me coming back time after time…you consistently have amazing vegan recipes…not once have I had a “meh” moment on your site. I love your depth of sharing and the ethos that keeps us all tumbling around in this great big vegan clothes dryer where we start with humble undies and socks that go in separate and we all end up clinging statically together united in one great homogenous vegan mass…Latkes are soul food…they are soul food whether you are Jewish or not. Sharing a recipe as good as this one shares your belief, your faith and your generosity. Thank you SO much for this recipe Hannah…I will be making these scrumptious latkes and sharing them with my wonderful husband A.S.A.P. :)

  12. Holy yum! I was just looking at doing some bombay potatoes – brilliant to turn them into latkes!

    I hope the holidays are festive and delicious for you!

  13. Will be having a go at making these later to have as a starter before my curry. Not sure I can wait that long though ;-) . Will make a yoghurt, cucumber and mint dip to go with it all! (dribbles) …thank you for the recipe

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