From Gail's Kitchen


This year, the eight-day festival of Chanukah begins at sunset on December 20. Chanukah is a fun Jewish holiday during which we get to play spin the dreidel (a four-sided spinning top) and light the candles on the chanukiah (a nine-branched candelabrum often referred to as a menorah) every night for eight days, to commemorate the miracle of a minuscule amount of oil having kept the flame in the Temple in Jerusalem alight for eight days. This led to the tradition of eating foods fried in oil, such as potato latkes (pancakes) and sufganiyot (doughnuts) during Chanukah. Latkes are traditionally made using regular potatoes. This is a delicious alternative. If you choose to use healthful coconut oil for frying the latkes, make sure to use refined organic coconut oil (rather than raw or virgin oil), which is better for frying purposes.

Makes about 2 dozen latkes

1/4 cup quinoa flakes, matzo meal or bread crumbs
2 tbsp all-purpose flour, plus up to 2 tbsp more, as needed
2 tsp kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 green onions, finely chopped
2 pounds (about 2 large) sweet potatoes, finely shredded or coarsely grated
Grapeseed oil or coconut oil (about 3/4 cup)

In a large bowl, whisk together the quinoa flakes, flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg (if using). Whisk in the eggs and green onions. Add the sweet potatoes. Using clean hands (one of your best tools in the kitchen!), combine the ingredients well. If the mixture seems excessively wet, add more flour as needed.

In a large sauté pan or skillet (you can use two to speed up the cooking process), add enough oil to come about ½-inch up the sides of the pan. Heat the oil at medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Spoon a ¼-cup measure of the sweet potato mixture (do not pack down the mixture) into the oil. Repeat with 4 or 5 additional measures, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Using two forks, very gently spread out each latke to flatten it to about ¼-inch thickness.

Fry the latkes until deeply browned on one side, 4 to 6 minutes. Using two spatulas, carefully flip each latke and fry on the second side until deeply browned, 3 to 4 minutes. (As the frying process gets going, you might have to adjust the heat so the latkes do not brown too quickly; this would result in undercooked potatoes.) Using a spatula, transfer the latkes to a platter lined with a dish towel or paper towels. Lightly sprinkle the latkes with salt. Repeat with the remaining sweet potato mixture. Serve hot. (The cooked latkes can be kept warm on a pachment paper-lined baking sheet in a 250º F oven until all of the latkes have been made.)