A staple of Hanukkah food is a serving of the traditional Hanukkah “Latkes.” In English, that means potato pancakes. Although they might look like a patty of hash browns, done right, they pack more potato punch than any shredded starch side dish you’ve ever had.
In Trader Joe’s style, we have options when it comes to latkes. The store offers a package of frozen ‘kes as a holiday specialty.
I tried one today – but I cooked it in a way that might be considered a sin against latke and Trader Joe’s. Instead of searing it or baking it, as recommended on the package and from thousands of years of Jewish cooking, I steamed it. I can be weird like that.
It was good! The flavor was tasty. Baked or seared, it would have been crispier, and I like a crispy latke. But I steamed it, and I was OK with my decision. At risk of committing further blasphemy, I’d recommend having a package on hand for times when latkes are demanded but time is short and hunger is urgent.
Of course, there’s the old school, make-your-own latke choice, too. TJ’s has a bag of the most colorful potatoes you’ll ever see. (If you’ve seen more colorful potatoes, please share your photos with us!)
Basically, a latka is comprised of potato, onion and matzoh or bread crumbs. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper. Pan fry it in some oil and eat it with some apple sauce, sour cream or as it comes naturally from the stove.
Potato pancakes are also one of those dishes – like ravioli – that are a part of the cuisine of many cultures. I’d recommend exploring all of the flavors enjoyed with the cakes from different parts of the world, like Austria, Poland, India, Iran and Switzerland.
Toda rabah, Trader Joe’s!
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