The holiday season is in full swing. Some of you will put up a Christmas tree or dust off your Kwanza kinara. Others will lament the holiday season and put their head in the sand until January. But for me, I get out my dreidel and start rolling gimmels. I'm not a religious person (not at all), but I do like cultural celebrations that revolve around light and food.
And I'm really excited about Chanukah this year because: 1. I like lighting the menorah 2. I just received the gift I sent myself (the Baked cookbook) 3. I really like to eat latkes and 4. *and most importantly* I like having people over to our teeny-tiny living space (only a few at a time) and celebrating the holidays with close friends.
This recipe for Curried Sweet Potato Latkes came to me by way of Jane, the mother of our very close friend. We got to taste these last year and they are a wonderful alternative to your standard potato latke. And they have a little kick due to the curry powder and cayenne. Bring these to your next Hanukkah party and you'll be a real hit!
(In case you aren't familiar with latkes, they are a shallow-fried pancake, usually potato, that are traditionally eaten on Chanukah.)
CURRIED SWEET POTATO LATKES (Adapted from The New Prospect Cafe by Jewish Cooking in America)
Serves 16 2-inch pancakes
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon cumin
salt to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
peanut oil for frying
Grate the sweet potato coarsely. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking power, cayenne pepper, curry powder, cumin, salt and pepper.
Add the eggs and just enough milk to dry ingredients and make a stiff batter. (I used less than the 1/2 cup of milk.) Add the potatoes and mix. The batter should be moist but not runny; if too stiff, add more milk.
Heat 1/4 inch of peanut oil (I used a bit less) in a saute pan until it is barely smoking. Drop in the batter by tablespoons and flatten. Cook several minutes on each side until golden. Drain on paper towels and serve.
Note: I think next time I make these I will cook the sweet potatoes and mash them, then follow the rest of the directions as written. I guess it comes down to this: do you like your latkes smooth or stringy? I think I'm a smooth type of gal.
Also, I made another batch of these latkes tonight. They were so good. I left the batter and sweet potatoes in the fridge overnight, and the potato was really soft and all the spices were absorbed beautifully. But either way, the make a nice holiday treat.
So eat those latkes, light that menorah and spin that dreidel.