Hanukkah or “the festival of lights” commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple of Jerusalem…but wait, what happened to the first one?!
Well, Solomon’s Temple of or Mount Zion was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar II in 587 B.C. (Long story!) Hundreds of years later, the Maccabees, a group of Jewish rebels initiated a revolt against the Hellenistic state known as “Seleucid Empire” (which dominated the territory formerly known as Judea) and actually deposed the regime and built a second temple (516 B.C. – 70 A.C.)
The Talmud says that the oil they had to lit the Menorah was only enough for one day, but miraculously it lasted for eight days. This celebration takes place between November and December. Hanukkah is celebrated worldwide by the Jewish diaspora.
I myself am a descendant of Sephardic Jews that converted to Catholicism to escape persecution from the Spanish inquisition.
The food eaten during the festival is usually fried and naturally all dishes are chosean and preapared under kashrut (kosher) regulations.
Latkes or Levivot (potato fritters) are a great treat,the combination between crunchiness and soft hot potatoes is heavenly.
Latkes (לאַטקע) have been around for some centuries and are an essential part of a Hanukkah menu but they don’t necessarily are exclusively made with potatoes, some people mix carrots or parsnips to the mix, and they are generally a savoury dish.
The recipe is very simple, and I always add loads of fresh garlic and some paprika to add a kick.
You will need:
- 4 big potatoes, peeled and grated.
- 1 medium onion finely chopped.
- 2 big cloves of garlic minced.
- 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley.
- 1 egg.
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs.
- Vegetable oil for frying.
Over a colander, grate the potatoes with a regular grater. Then just like you do to make hash browns, squeeze the grated potatoes very tightly to get rid-of as much liquid as possible, then carry on with the onion, garlic and parsley. I used a mezzaluna knife because it’s way faster, in any case I don’t like using a food processor because you end up with a horrid paste.
Squeeze the potatoes once more then transfer to a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Use as much of the breadcrumbs as you need, the consistency has to be dryish but sticky enough to hold.
In a frying pan or a medium sized pot, add about 1/4 cup of oil, wait until is very hot. Squeeze portions (about 3 tablespoons each) forming a flat-ish croquette and fry until golden-crunchy. Serve hot.
They go specially well freshly squeezed lime juice and sour cream.
Es gezunterheyt! (Eat in health!)