I consider latkes, or savory vegetable pancakes, their own food group. It's a year-round thing. (And the Vilna Vegetarian agrees, so we have on whom to rely.) On Chanukkah, I am more apt to make classic potato latkes than other times of year, when I generally swing vegetal. We like these carrot latkes pretty much anytime, but they're mandatory for our annual Chanukkah party with its latke-and-toppings bar. Although you can make vegetable latkes using an all-veg base, like my zuchhini latkes, we especially like them with a potato-onion mixture as a base. As a plus, this means you can make one big batch of potato latkes, run a few vegetables through the food processor, and quickly make a latke buffet by combining each veg with some of the base. Here, we're going to use that technique to make carrot (and potato) latkes.
Selecting and grating the vegetables
First, a word on selecting the vegetables: the yellow potato is there to serve in a supporting role, so you'll want proportionately little potato in relation to carrot. That being said, it adds wonderfully to the texture of the finished latkes. Pick the smallest yellow potato of the bunch, or one to two baby potatoes. Likewise, you want the onion to be on the smaller side so its flavor is there, but not overpowering. As for the carrots, they vary a lot in size, so if you've got those big guys in your bunch, you can reduce down to three. If you've got smaller carrots, you may want to throw in an extra one or two. For your average carrot, I think four is the magic number to get latkes where the carrot flavor reign supreme.
I use the coarse shredding disc in the food processor (the standard grating disc that comes with the machine) to grate the carrots, potatoes, and onions. If your food processor is large enough to allow, you can grate everything together without emptying the bowl. Of course, you can also do this by hand using the coarse side of a hand grater.
I do the onions first, then the carrots, and finally the potatoes, to avoid the potatoes getting discolored. The crucial part is squeezing out the liquids from the grated vegetables. I have a walk-through in my master latke recipe, but briefly: you'll empty the grated veg out onto a clean kitchen towel and wring it enthusiastically over the sink. You should be stunned by the amount of carroty liquid that you manage to extract from the bundle. Something about carrots being mostly water. When you can barely squeeze out any more liquid, empty the grated vegetables into a mixing bowl and proceed with the recipe.
Shaping and frying the latkes
After mixing together the grated vegetables and binding ingredients, shape the mixture into patties about 3" / 7-8 cm in diameter by hand. Place them directly in the hot oil and fry until just golden on the first side, 3-4 minutes. Turn over and cook on the second side, 2-3 minutes.
Looking for more Chanukah recipes?
- Peanut butter gelt blossom cookies - chocolate gelt pressed into a crackly-soft peanut butter cookie
- Sufganiyot muffins - have Chanukah for breakfast
Carrot Latkes (parve)
- Food processor with coarse grating disc
- 2 absorbent kitchen towels you don't mind getting dirty
- Large frying pan or skillet - cast iron works especially well
- Cooling rack, like you use for cookies
- 4 medium carrots, peeled
- 1 small yellow potato - or 2 small
- 1 small onion
- 2 eggs - beaten with a fork
- 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour - 25 g
- 1 Tbsp potato starch - omit it if you don't have
- 2 tsp salt
- pinch white or black pepper
- ⅓ cup olive oil, for frying - or more, to cover the entire bottom of your frying pan
Grate and wring out the potatoes and onions:
- Peel the onion and process using the coarse grating disc of your food processor.
- Peel your potatoes and cut them as needed for your food processor's feed tube. (Mine has a wide option, so I only have to cut my Russets in half.) Process the potatoes using the same coarse grating disc. If your food processor is large enough, you need not take the onion out before grating the potatoes.
- Dump the grated potatoes and onions out onto the first kitchen towel. Gather up the four corners of the towel and, working over the sink, wring out as firmly as you can.
- When the towel is saturated, transfer the potatoes and onions to the second towel and wring out again, until no more water drains. Place the potato-onion misture into a mixing bowl. (At this point, I usually rinse off the towels under running water in the sink and put them in the washing machine.)
Make the latke batter:
- To the mixing bowl, add the beaten eggs, flour, potato starch (if using), salt, and pepper.
- With your hands, knead the ingredients together thoroughly.
Fry the latkes:
- Heat the oil over medium heat until hot, but not smoking. When hot, form the batter into balls about 3" / 7-8cm in diameter) using your hands, then flatten slightly. Place directly in the hot oil.
- Fry 3-4 minutes on the first side, until medium to deep gold but not browned. Using a flexible spatula, carefully flip the latkes and cook until golden on the second side, 2-3 minutes.