A Samosa Latke
Once a year or so (usually at Hanukkah, of course!) my family loves latkes. We don’t fry a lot of food, but when a holiday is all about oil one has to indulge in a little frying.
We usually make the traditional latkes I chronicled in a post last year at this time. This year I thought we’d try something a little different. We actually made TWO new kinds of latkes.
One version, which I’ll detail in a future post (making and eating latkes can really wear a girl out), was made with sweet potatoes. We called these Yam-e-kes.
I got the idea for the second version from Chef Jamie Geller of Kosher.com. I had been toying with the idea of making samosas, my favorite potato-based Indian turnovers, for some time. Jamie came up with the idea of putting samosa spices into a latke.
Since “Sam-e-kes” sounds a little awkward I’m just using Jamie’s terminology and calling these Samosa Latkes. They represent a wonderful pairing of two cuisines I adore.
If you’d like to see Jamie’s version of these latkes, please visit Kosher.com’s recipes for Hanukkah (she offers other great ideas as well!). You’ll note that she has produced a relatively low-fat latke. Since we only make them once a year we kept the fat.
I should warn you that my nephew Michael doesn’t believe that EITHER of our experiments actually qualifies as a latke. Whatever they are, they’re pretty tasty.
One note: these are not particularly spicy Sam-e-kes, only flavorful ones. If you’d like more spice, feel free to add more to taste.
2 large baking potatoes
1 large onion, more or less finely chopped
2 eggs, beaten
6 tablespoons flour or matzo meal (plus a little more if you need it)
2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger root
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon hot curry powder
2 cups peas, barely cooked
extra-virgin olive oil as needed for frying
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves
Wash the potatoes well and peel them if you want to (the skins are nutritious so you don’t have to). Grate them. This takes a really long time with a box grater so I prefer to use the grater attachment of a food processor.
(Do not use the main blade of a food processor as it will make the potato pieces small and wet.)
Wrap the potato shreds in a clean dishtowel. Carry it to the sink, and wring out as much liquid as you can. Leave the wrapped shreds in the sink to drain while you prepare the rest of the ingredients (and maybe have a cocktail or two).
In a medium bowl, combine the potato pieces, onion, eggs, flour, ginger, salt, and spices. Stir in the peas. In a large frying pan, heat a few tablespoons of oil until the oil begins to shimmer.
Scoop some of the potato mixture out of the bowl with a soup spoon, and flatten it with your hand. Pop the flattened potato into the hot oil. It should hiss and bubble a bit; if not, wait before you put more pancakes into the oil.
It’s just fine if your latkes are a little ragged around the edges. If they don’t hold together and are hard to turn, however, you may want to add a little more flour to your batter.
Fry the potato cakes a few at a time, turning each when the first side becomes golden. Drain the cooked latkes on paper towels; then pop them into a 250-degree oven to stay warm until their cousins are finished cooking.
When you run out of batter (or feel you have enough for your family!), sprinkle the chopped cilantro over your latkes, light the menorah, and eat. Serves 6 to 8 as a side dish.
Michael loves to light the Hanukkah candles.
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