Are Healthy Latkes an Oxymoron?
December 2, 2010 11:31 AM   Subscribe

Hanukah has arrived and I'd like to make latkes and apple sauce. I did read this thread. But my goal is a result that is tasty but healthy -- that is, I really would like to avoid greasiness and oiliness. Does anyone know a scrumptious lower fat recipe?
posted by bearwife to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I know my SIL usually makes her latkes by oven roasting them, which requires less oil and is healthier. Hopefully someone will have a recipe for you, because they're delicious!
posted by ldthomps at 11:34 AM on December 2, 2010

This doesn't really answer your question, but here are some Apple Latkes you might enjoy.
posted by null terminated at 11:40 AM on December 2, 2010

Try making baked latkes. Here's a recipe.
posted by essexjan at 11:50 AM on December 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Just a little bit of oil spread across bottom of a cast iron or non stick skillet does a fine job on latkes. Save your fat calories for the sour cream. Also- try using rice flour instead of wheat flour in your potato-onion-egg-salt-flour mix; I did this once for a friend's son who is allergic to gluten, and the results were so far superior that I now never use wheat flour in my latkes.
posted by squalor at 12:10 PM on December 2, 2010

Cook's Illustrated has a Holiday guide that you can probably find at many upscale grocery stores and certainly the book store. My 2009 has a recipe that might work. You might also look at Food Network and see if you can divine some variation on the theme. Once you understand the basics of the recipe, you might be able to mod it yourself.

Finally, greasiness can be avoided even in fried or sauteed foods works: if the oil is hot enough, the food will crisp up and will not soak up as much of the cooking oil. Also make sure that the outside of the food you are cooking is as dry as possible to minimize cooking time spent in contact with the oil.
posted by Hylas at 12:11 PM on December 2, 2010

One option is to make potato kugel instead. Take your latke mix and bake in a greased shallow dish until well browned on top.

Another is to make them pretty thin and just fry on a hotplate, instead of in oil. Bramborak are closely related to latkes, and I see them fried on a greased skillet, not in oil.

However, latkes have an irreducible oil component. You realise that the fried food is typical for Hannukah because it symbolises the miracle of the lamps? A non-fried, low fat potato cake is not actually a latke in my view.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:00 PM on December 2, 2010

Greasy latkes are undesirable even to HDBEs like me who think a baked latke at Hanukkah thumbs its nose at God. You might be able to avoid a significant fraction of oil absorption just by draining the latkes quickly and thoroughly as they come out of the pan. J. Kenji Lopez-Alt says that "the vast majority of the oil that gets absorbed into fried foods happens not while it's inside the hot oil, but within the first few seconds after it is removed from the oil."

In addition, you could mix up some of your latkes with zucchini or squash fritters or pakora-style vegetables. Nice colors, and the fritters go just as well with sour cream and applesauce as potato latkes do. If you also reduce the flour, these are better for people for whom "healthy" means "low carb," not "low fat," like some diabetics.
posted by hat at 1:29 PM on December 2, 2010

Funny you should mention it: The Atlantic's food column had a page of "16 Healthy Hanukkah Recipes" just today...
posted by FlyingMonkey at 1:29 PM on December 2, 2010

You realise that the fried food is typical for Hannukah because it symbolises the miracle of the lamps?

Hey, it only took one little container of oil, normally only enough for a day, to keep the eternal flame lit for eight. I think the true spirit of Hanukah therefore calls for less oil, stretching further.
posted by bearwife at 4:26 PM on December 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Steven Raichlen's "Oven-'Fried' Latkes" recipe works really well--I actually make it in two preheated cast-iron skillets instead of the baking sheet recommended here. I have no idea which of Raichlen's many books this recipe comes from, because I had it on an index card until I transferred all the recipes to the computer.


Time: 30 minutes

3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes

1 medium onion

1/3 cup matzoh meal or unbleached white flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 eggs plus 4 whites, or 1 cup EggBeaters or similar

3 tablespoons chopped parsley

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Olive oil

No-fat sour cream (optional)

Applesauce (optional).

1. Place large nonstick baking sheet in oven, and preheat to 450 degrees. Peel potatoes and onion, and coarsely grate. Squeeze handfuls of grated vegetables tightly to wring out as much liquid as possible.

2. Transfer vegetables to mixing bowl, and stir in matzoh meal, baking powder, egg substitute, parsley and plenty of salt and pepper. Latkes should be highly seasoned.

3. Spray or brush baking sheet with oil. Spoon small mounds of potato mixture onto sheet to form pancakes 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Leave 1 inch between each.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:23 PM on December 2, 2010

Nthing baking, though no, they won't taste/feel the same as fried but they're still good. I learned this when I stumbled on a recipe in a Jewish cookbook a few years back claiming to be "onion kugel" that felt pretty much like latkes turned into an oven-baked casserole.
posted by ifjuly at 7:51 AM on December 3, 2010

Thanks so much for all the good ideas and recipes! Hoping to try out making tasty but less greasy latkes this weekend.
posted by bearwife at 10:48 AM on December 3, 2010

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