Sweet Potato Latkes

Sweet potato latkes and ruby applesauce.

The shortest day of the year is finally upon us. The darkest point in the turning of the seasons will tomorrow tilt toward light. The balance in power has shifted. Daylight gains. The darkness recedes, inch by inch, minute by minute. Light is reborn. Pretty powerful stuff. No wonder so many cultures have celebrated the Winter Solstice in a myriad of ways.

For Hanukkah- no matter how you spell it- it's also about light. An eight day Festival of Lights, in fact, and food is intricately woven into the tradition. Because Hanukkah celebrates the fortuitous finding of a flask of olive oil (a small amount that would, maybe, last a day, but miraculously burned for eight dark nights) recipes for celebrating the miracle of light are cooked in oil.

And that brings to me to one of my all-time favorite foods on Earth.


Oy, how I love them. What's not to love? You have my favorite comfort food- potatoes. You have olive oil. And with a little bit of elbow grease (grating said potatoes) you have crispy tender goodness. You don't have to be Jewish to love the pure genius of latkes. You can be Half-Jewess, like yours truly, or even Honorary Jewish like Diane Keaton seems to be, slipping in Bubbe and schmata in casual conversation. They say on St. Patrick's Day that everyone is Irish. Maybe during Hanukkah, everyone is Jewish? Well, maybe except that nudnik Mel Gibson.

For those of you looking for a traditional potato latke recipe made with white potatoes, here are my tasty gluten-free and lacy latkes, with a simple cinnamon applesauce. For those of you looking for a latke recipe a tad less traditional, this year I've cooked up a batch of sweet potato latkes (inspired by Joan Nathan and her cookbook Jewish Cooking In America- a fabulous cookbook, by the way). And to complement the spicy-sweetness in these yummy little pancakes, I've simmered up a lip-smacking ruby applesauce, spiked with luscious tart cranberries.

The pairing of the sweet potato and sweet-n-sour cranberries was declared, My favorite! last night by a certain Darling Husband, whose latkes disappeared so quickly it took this cook's breath away (don't you love a man who eats with gusto? I had a boyfriend once who complained my cooking was, and I quote, Weird. He would taste a forkful so gingerly- as if I was trying to poison him- that my private tiny girl heart would deflate).

I made these tender beauties vegan- without eggs- but if you prefer a more traditional style latke recipe, use two large free-range organic eggs and cut out the pureed sweet potato I use for an egg substitute.

Serve the latkes with my ruby applesauce.

Sweet Potato Latkes Recipe

Honestly I couldn't tell that these latkes were gluten and egg free. They turned out golden and crisp on the outside, tender and sweet on the inside. Just perfect. I kid you not.

You'll need:

1 lb. sweet potatoes (for me- this was two large sweet potatoes)
1/2 cup sorghum or brown rice flour
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon curry or use ginger if you prefer
1/2 teaspoon red or black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup sweet potato puree
1/3 to 1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk, as needed
2 teaspoons raw agave nectar or honey
Light olive oil, for frying

Peel and grate the sweet potatoes. Set aside.

In a large bowl combine the sorghum flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, sea salt, cumin, curry or ginger, pepper. Whisk to mix.

Add in the sweet potato puree, non-dairy milk, agave and stir; add a little more liquid if you need to, to create a thick but smooth batter.

Add in the grated sweet poatoes, and stir to combine.

Using a deep sided heavy skillet (I used a large cast iron skillet) heat about 1/4 inch light olive oil over medium-high heat.

When the oil is hot drop the latke batter by spoonfuls into the hot oil, cooking by batches. Fry on both sides till golden and crispy; flatten a bit with a spatula.

Drain on paper towels. Keep warm if not eating right away- but latkes freshly fried from the skillet are so delectable.

Serve with Ruby Applesauce- my recipe is here.

Makes 16 3-inch latkes.

More Hanukkah/Chanukah Deliciousness

Karina's Lacy Gluten-Free Latkes and Easy Cinnamon Applesauce
Nicole's Cranberry Applesauce with Fresh Ginger
Sean's Pomegranate Borscht at Hedonia
Gluten-Free Bay's Chanukah Recipe Round-Up
Sarina's Curried 'mini' Latkes and Bubbly Guava Ginger Ale


milhan said...

I am not Jewish (I'm Turkish & Irish), but my husband is. However, being born and raised in NYC, that makes me a little bit Jewish after all!

My sweet potatoes are ready for later! Can't wait.

Happy Hanukkah!

seamaiden said...

You had me at sweet potato. Actually latke is a pretty big draw all by itself, no matter the potato. Love those wonderful, wonderful things and you have inspired me. It's settled... latke on the menu this week!

Will try for sure...


nika said...

Thnx for the linkiness! We made the yule log today and will be doing out candle "ritual" after supper. shots of the making (which I blog about later) can be found here

Rach said...

I am totally gonna make these for the "Jew-down" at my friend's next Saturday! I'm positive I'll win with these Latkes. Then I'll make them again for the "Latke Fest" at my brother's on Sunday! (yes - we are weird Jews, lol)

Nicole said...

Sounds absolutely delicious! I experimented with some sweet potato latkes a couple years ago and my husband I both loved them! Thanks for the reminder to make some more! :-)

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I always serve pink apple sauce with latkes -- my grandmother's method, making applesauce with the skins on. Love the idea of making it even more pink with cranberry juice! Happy Chanukah.

VeggieGirl said...


vered said...

Dear Karina

I liked the Latkes and the Applesauce, but what made my day was what you said about the first Drek. The other one I don't know but I belive you.

Happy Hanukkah- חנוכה שמח

The TriniGourmet said...

Love that recipe Karina :) Thanks for the link! :D

monique said...

Leary was on the Daily Show a while ago and said that his comments were taken out of context, that he has close friends with an autistic child and that he was in no way insulting or mocking the children or their parents. I haven't read the book, and I don't know if you have, but -- if you haven't read the book, it's possible that your anger at him might be misplaced.

Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

Latkes fill my heart with joy. For potato latkes, I just use starchy taters with green onions and don't use a binder---they don't even need eggs (I was happy to find). But when I tried to do the same with sweet potatoes recently, I failed miserably. (So we ate some quickly chopped and roasted sweet potato chunks instead---not all bad.) I'm excited to have your recipe to try again with the eggless sweet potato latkes. :D

Tamara (TC) said...

I can't wait to try the latkes. Yippee for printer friendly pages! However, it sent me to a page that said blog was open to members only.
Just letting you know in case you didn't already.

Thanks for the wonderful recipes!

Gluten Free Steve said...

What's not to love about latkes? I can't make a good one to save my life, but man, I can make my Bubbie's potato kugel that just calls for "oil". Her instructions were, "You'll know how much". LOVE THAT!

Jasmine said...

These are fabulous. I didn't even expect the kids to really like them and they destroyed them.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the stuff about Denis Leary, I also saw that Daily Show episode, where his justification, did not satisfy me. As a regular caregiver for several autistic children, it offended me, and no matter what his "friends took out of context", it is still published there, in HIS book, so he should take responsibility for it.
On a lighter note, LOVED this recipe, I'm a sweet potato addict. :) Thanks!