What's the best way to start a domestic uprising during the most wonderful time of the year? Mess around with traditions and watch your loved ones freak! Unlike Christmas with its roasts, cookies galore, and fruit cakes, Hanukkah is all about latkes and fried fare. The symbolism comes from the miracle of the Temple in Jerusalem when one day’s supply of oil kept the eternal flame lit for eight. There’s a lot more to it, but let’s get to the point.
And that point is potato latkes. What should be a lacy pancake fried into crispy bliss too often reveals itself to be a flabby, blue mini-Frisbee. Blue? Yes, blue. I knew a Jewish grandmother whose latkes were praised all over her neighborhood. When I finally got to taste these hallowed Hanukkah must-haves, four sad, soggy, blue blobs stared up at me from her good china. They’d been made the week before, frozen, and “popped into the microwave. So easy!” she said kvelling over her creation. Um, no. These blue babies would not do. Unfortunately, she died a week later. Whether her early demise was related to her sacrilegious treatment of the potato pancake, we will never know. But thankfully a lot of creative cooks have put their own updated spin on this Hanukkah classic. Bubbe might plotz over the variations (deviations?), but good taste should always trump tradition.
Image: What Jew Wanna Eat
Bringing a little “opa!” to the party, Love U Madly gives a shout-out to spanakopita.
Image: Love U Madly
Bright and cheerful, Elana’s Pantry goes gluten-free and Paleo-friendly with these pretty pancakes.
Image: Elana’s Pantry
Butternut Squash Potato Pancakes with Spinach and Fried Egg
Everything’s better topped with an oozy egg, no? A Better Happier St. Sebastian turns eggs and potato into an indulgent feast.
Image: A Better Happier St. Sebastian
Thai Sweet Potato Latkes
Kicking up the spice and swapping out wheat flour for rice flour, A Pretty Life in the Suburbs delivers a super-contemporary take.
Image: A Pretty Life in the Suburbs
Potato Latkes with Jalapeno Dill Sauce
Living up to its name, A Spicy Perspective turns a potato latke into a caliente treat.
Image: A Spicy Perspective
Sweet Potato, Turnip, and Parsnip Latkes
Going the rich and earthy route, Kitchen Confidante shares this recipe using a trio of hearty root vegetables.
Image: Kitchen Confidante
Cheddar Chipotle Latkes
Turning up the heat with chipotle and red pepper flakes, Half Baked Harvest gives cheesy latkes a smoky dimension.
Image: Half Baked Harvest
Vegetable Latkes with Persimmon Butter
Forget the apple sauce — these potato, carrot, parsnip, and zucchini latkes from Food Nasty prefer a side of sweet persimmon butter
Image: Food Nasty
Crispy Taro Cakes, er Latkes
Using taro and some Sriracha on the side, I Am a Food Blog (yes, you are!) brings an Asian perspective.
Image: I Am a Food Blog
Potato Apple Latke Bites
OK, these are bending the latkes-must-be-fried rule, but come on, they are so cute. Plus, as with all things from Gluten Free Canteen, they’re well, you know.
Image: Gluten Free Canteen
Green Onion Latkes with Poached Eggs
Who wants a soggy English muffin under her eggs Benedict? No one we know. Cooking for Keeps loses the spongy and goes for the crispy.
Image: Cooking for Keeps
Apples and cheddar are a classic combo, but not in a latke! Surprisingly, these are root vegetable-free, but A Cozy Kitchen has us heading to the greenmarket for some Granny Smiths.
Image: A Cozy Kitchen
Get all your daily veggies in this colorful quintet created by What Jew Wanna Eat. Better than a green juice any day!
Image: What Jew Wanna Eat