Sweet Potato Pancakes, Latke-style

imageLatkes are similar to potato pancakes, except that the potatoes are grated instead of mashed.  Potato latkes are popular during the Jewish holiday, Hanukkah.

As most people are aware of, Hanukkah is the festival of lights. It is a celebration of the freedom of the Jewish people from the Greek rule  centuries ago. The cooking of food during this time is rich in oil, and many are deep fried.

The deep frying in oil represents the miracle of the Menorah, a candelabra with nine candles. When the Jewish fighters beat back the Greek for their beliefs they came across a Menorah in a Temple. They, however, only had enough oil for one night. Miraculously, the Menorah stayed lit for eight straight days. A miracle sent from above many felt, and still do to this day. It is for this reason that Jewish people when celebrating Hanukkah deep fry much of their foods in oil.

For this version of the latke, I used sweet potato which is used quite a bit in a similar type of food in the Philippines  — camote (sweet potato) fritters.


1 large sweet potato

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil

A couple thin slices of Jalapeno (optional)

Sliced green onions for garnish

Sour cream and/or apple sauce for dip



Preheat oven to 250°F.

Peel sweet potato and coarsely grate,  transferring to a large bowl of cold water as grated. Soak potatoes 1 to 2 minutes then drain well in a colander.

Spread grated potatoes and onions on a clean kitchen towel and roll up jelly-roll style. Twist towel tightly to wring out as much liquid as possible. Transfer potato and onion mixture to a bowl and stir in egg and salt.

Heat 1/4 cup oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Working in batches spoon 2 tablespoons potato mixture per latke into skillet, spreading into 3-inch rounds with a fork. Reduce heat to moderate and cook until undersides are browned, about 5 minutes. If using, place jalapeno slices on top of latkes. Turn latkes over and cook until undersides are browned, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to paper towels to drain and season with salt. Add more oil to skillet as needed. Keep latkes warm on a wire rack set in a shallow baking pan in oven. Serve with apple sauce and sour cream on the side.


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