Spicy Sweet Potato Latkes

December 14, 2009

This post was written by Sarah of SmartBitches.

It’s Hanukkah, the Festival of Light, and Fried Foods. No, really. One of the ways in which Jewish folks commemorate Hanukkah is to eat foods fried in oil, like sufganiyot (jelly-filled donuts) and latkes (potato pancakes). Only one problem with that for me: I really, really don’t like latkes. Latkes made the traditional way with white potatoes, flour, egg, salt and oil just don’t do it for me, to say nothing of the traditional way of eating them with sour cream, apple sauce, or sugar. So I was never a latke fan until I found this recipe.

While flipping through an older issue of Taste of Home magazine, I found a recipe for Curried Sweet Potato Latkes, which just about knocked me off the couch in immediate food lust. I love sweet potatoes, and the picture alone made me drool.

So I took the recipe and adapted it a bit, turned down the heat for one batch for the kids, and cranked it up in another for Hubby. This year, I made our annual batch with help from Baba O’Riley, my two year old son.

First, and most important step: line a big Pyrex or large foil pan with paper towels. I always forget to do this until I’m holding a bubbling, oily latke and then have to scramble.

Peel and chop your sweet potatoes into food-processor sized chunks. You can grate them on a box grater if you really dislike your own knuckles that much, but a food processor grater blade works very well. Note: I did the chopping. Baba did the put-in-bowl-Mommy.

The Showgirl and the Professor, official mascot of my kitchen, helped with the grating of the sweet potatoes in the food processor.

The Showgirl and the Professor did a great job of grating that big mess of sweet potato. You need about four cups of grated potato for this recipe.

There’s curry powder, sugar, brown sugar, cumin, flour, salt, and cayenne pepper in the batter.

And fresh ground pepper. Lots of it.

It smells great. Trust me on this one. At about this point in the recipe, I think the internet should come with smell-o-vision.

Baba mixed while his bear had a snack. Cheerios are not part of the recipe. Sorry. Also, Bear ate them all.

Time for the eggs and milk – you look at that massive pile of sweet potato and think there’s no way this is enough but it so is.

Once it’s tossed together, the sweet potatoes are lightly coated with the seasoning and batter and are ready for hot oil, baby. Yum.

I heat my oil in as big a nonstick pan as I have, and wait until it’s shimmering before I drop a test latke in there. I don’t like mine thin, though, so I drop mounded tablespoonfuls into the oil, and lightly press them down. The edges get all lacy and crunchy, and the middle is soft and chewy. Excuse me, I have to go eat another one now.

You want the latkes to be golden brown – but be careful. It’s a very short distance between golden brown and straight up burnt, and I always end up with a few that are a bit too dark in the brown department.

Serve them warm, with honey mustard. Barb Ferrer, to whom I sent the recipe last year, likes them with orange marmalade.

Happy Hanukkah! Recipe is below.

Spicy Sweet Potato Latkes
Adapted from Taste of Home Magazine

Makes about 20-24 latkes

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 tsp sugar

2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp ground cumin

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (more if you like hot, less if not so much)

1/4 pepper

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup milk

4 cups peeled and grated sweet potatoes

oil for frying (I use vegetable oil)

1. In a small bowl combine flour, sugar, curry powder, baking powder, brown sugar, ground cumin, salt, cayenne pepper and pepper. Stir in eggs and milk until blended. Batter will be rather thick. Fear not.

2. Add sweet potatoes and toss to coat. It looks like it won’t possibly cover it all but it will, don’t worry.

3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls into oil. Press lightly with back of spoon to flatten and spread out.

4. Fry for 3-5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Note: keep your eye on them. They burn easily. Add more oil if necessary between batches and let oil heat up.

5. Drain on paper towels.

6. Serve warm (can be reheated in toaster) with honey mustard, orange marmalade, or whatever you like.

(B’tayavon – Bon appetit!) ???????

All recipes at a glance: