Thanksgivukkah Sweet Potato and Carrot Latkes

Nov 14th, 2013 | By | Category: cook something, fall, vegetables and pasta
Ethiopian Sweet Potato and Carrot Latkes

Ethiopian Sweet Potato and Carrot Latkes

Author and cooking school instructor, Tina Wasserman — from Dallas, Texas –shares a recipe for latkes suitable for Hannukah and Thanksgiving.

When I was the Food Columnist for Reform Judaism Magazine, a reader requested traditional Hannukah recipes that she could eat.  She could not eat foods that contained gluten so flour and matzo meal were not allowed. I created this recipe, whose roots are in Ethiopia, and as a tribute to the Beta Israel Ethiopian Jewish community.

The flavors in this dish are commonly found in Ethiopian cooking. Teff is the smallest cultivated grain in the world that grows in the mountains of Ethiopia and it also happens to be Gluten-free.  It has a mild, slightly molasses-like sweetness that goes well with many vegetables besides those in this recipe. Ground Teff seeds are the basis for Injera bread, that spongy, slightly sour, soft flat bread that is used as plate and fork and eaten at Ethiopian meals.

Teff can be found in many supermarkets.  Whole Foods and other health oriented supermarket chains as well as health food stores will carry it.  As an alternative, I suggest ground flax seed which will also help the latkes hold together.  This is a high nutrient dish that could easily serve as an entrée with fruit sauce and Greek yogurt or sour cream.  Kids love the color and taste too!

Sweet Potato and Carrot Latkes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled
  • 1/2 pound carrots, peeled
  • 1 small onion, cut into eighths
  • 1 large clove garlic, cut into 3 pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 15 grindings of black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, or ½ tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil-or ½ tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup teff or ground flaxseed
  • Canola or peanut oil for frying
  • Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream for garnish-optional

Directions

  1. Cut the sweet potatoes and carrots into 1 ½ inch chunks and grate them using the fine grating disk on a processor or using the larger holes on a hand grater.  Set aside.
  1. Place onion and garlic pieces in a processor work bowl with the metal blade.  Pulse the machine on and off until the onions are finely chopped.  Return ½ of the potato/carrot mixture to the processor work bowl and pulse on and off about 5 times to combine the ingredients.  Empty mixture into a 3 quart bowl. (NOTE: if you don’t have a processor, grate the onion and chop some of the potato carrot mixture into a fine chop.)
  1. Add the spices and the eggs and ¼ cup of the teff or ground flaxseed to the mixing bowl and mix thoroughly.  Add a little more grain if mixture seems too loose and watery.  Do not make the mixture too firm or finished product will be dry and heavy.
  1. Heat a large skillet or griddle for 20 seconds.  Add enough oil to totally cover the bottom of the pan.  Heat oil for 10 seconds.
  1. Each time before you scoop up some of the mixture, mix contents of bowl. Drop 2 tablespoons of potato/carrots into the hot pan.  Repeat with more mixture to fill pan but do not over crowd.
  1. When bottoms of pancakes are golden, gently turn them over using two slotted spatulas.  When golden on the second side remove to a plate that is covered with crumpled paper towels.
  1. Proceed with the remaining mixture.
  1. Serve plain or with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt.

Tina’s Tidbits:

    • Children of all ages can help make the batter for the latkes but only children over the age of 8 or 9 should be allowed to fry the pancakes.  Since this mixture has so much natural moisture there is a stronger likelihood that the oil will splatter so taller children should only be allowed to work at the stove. Younger children can watch, but NOT sitting on the countertop near by!
    • Using the grating disk on a processor guarantees no nicked knuckles.  However do pay attention to make sure feed tube plunger is used!
    • Crumpling paper towels gives you more surface area to absorb the excess oil on the latkes than just laying down multiple sheets of paper.  Younger children love to do this and feel like they are helping out.

Kitchen Conversations:

  • Talk about the story of Hannukah and its use of oil.  Do you think Ethiopians told this story to their children?  Why would they?  Why would they not tell this story?
  • What other vegetables can you add in place of the potato or carrot to create your own holiday treat?  Write it down to make another time.
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