On Hanukkah, Jews light a menorah for 8 nights and eat foods fried in oil to celebrate the miracle of the oil in the holy lamp lasting for 8 days. Some eat doughnuts, but I prefer latkes, fried potato pancakes. This is my mother’s recipe, but I added the onion on my friend Vivian’s suggestion.
4 cups raw grated Russet potatoes. Use 4 large or 5 medium
1 onion, grated
4 large eggs
2 Tb matzo meal
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups canola oil per frying pan
Peel potatoes and soak in water until ready to grate. Grate by hand or in a food processor. Place in a colander so that potatoes can drain their water, until rest of ingredients are mixed and oil is hot. Wrap the grated potatoes and onions in 3 layers of cheesecloth and tie the corners around a wooden spoon. Twist the bundle tightly to release the moisture.
Beat eggs well and add matzo meal and salt. Add drained potatoes and onions and stir well. You can add the potato starch at the bottom of the bowl of drained potato water.
Pour oil into a heavy frying pan, such as cast iron and put on medium high heat until it reaches 375′ (Keep oil between 365′ and 375′ during the frying process.)
Using a large slotted serving spoon and a large solid serving spoon, mold a spoonful of batter on the slotted spoon, squeezing down with the solid spoon. You will need to squeeze more water out of the potatoes toward the end of the frying. Gently place the latke in the hot oil.
Fry until golden brown, then flip over using the slotted spoon. Don’t crowd the pan, usually 3 or 4 latkes are good for a 9” pan. When latkes are golden brown on both sides, lift each one with the slotted spoon and let the oil drain back into the pan.