CELEBRATING LATKES: A LATKE COOKBOOK

By Great Performances

The Latke Festival has always been one of our favorite events of the year. Held at the beginning of Chanukah, it’s an annual celebration of the latke; but more than that, it’s a celebration of family, friends, togetherness, and Chanukah around food. Dozens of chefs, restaurants and food enthusiasts prepare their take on a latke for the hundreds of participants and handful of official latke judges to taste, savor, and ultimately vote on the winner in a variety of categories.

The latkes run the gamut from traditional to modern, using potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, and parsnips. They are shredded, mashed, or chopped. And the toppings – there’s no limit to the imagination of these chefs, and each one is more delicious than the last.

Although we couldn’t host our Latke Festival this year (but get ready – we’re coming back in 2022!), we decided to collect some of our favorite latke recipes and share them with you. Check out our cookbook below and let us know if you try some of the recipes!

Opt-in to our newsletter by submitting your email address and we’ll also enter you to win a pair of tickets to the 2022 Latke Festival! No purchase necessary.

We love our latkes! So much so that for the past 11 years, we’ve held an annual Latke Festival to celebrate the latke and to benefit The Sylvia Center. Although we’re disappointed that we can’t celebrate with you, we’ll be highlighting some of our favorite latke participants.

Chef Dima Martseniuk has won more awards at our annual Latke Festival than any other competitor and we’re always delighted to have him and his team participate. Originally from Ukraine, Chef Dima Martseniuk graduated from Kiev University Ukraine, with a degree in finance and management. He then attended the French Culinary Institute (ICC), New York and has been working at Veselka since December 2009.

He’s been featured on TV including making his short ribs pierogi with Guy Fieri, a judge on Beat Bobby Flay, a guest on Good Morning America after his 2018 Latke Festival win, on the Rachael Ray Show, and more. He’s constantly working on new recipes at Veselka, many of which have become bestsellers.

Veselka

Veselka is one of New York’s most beloved Ukranian restaurants. This 24-hour go to for their famous pierogi has been operating in the East village since 1954. They’ve won numerous awards and recognition including “Best East Village Diner” and “Best Ukrainian Diner” by New York Press. They’ve been featured in the New York Times, Serious Eats, London Times, Buzzfeed, on the Food Network and more. Their pierogi have also been included in Eater’s “New York City’s 30 Most Iconic Dishes” and Thrillist’s “Most Important Food Dishes in NYC History.”

When Covid hit in March 2020, they closed out of concern for the health and safety of their staff and guests. On May 1, they reopened for take out and delivery and were able to reopen outdoor dining in June.

During this time, they’ve received tons of support from many sources, especially their local customers and their loyal fanbase who are able to order their pierogi and soups via Goldbelly (if you haven’t tried their incredibly delicious food yet, here’s your chance!)

They enclosed their outdoor space and are looking forward to welcoming guests for a warming dish of comfort during the cold winter days.

If you get a chance, show them your love either by stopping in or by ordering their pierogi (and other Ukrainian dishes) online via Goldbelly.

We can’t wait to have them participate in Latke Festival again next year!

We love our latkes at Great Performances – so much so that each year since 2008 we’ve held an annual Latke Festival. Here’s a growing list of some of our recipes! Get cooking and don’t forget to tag @sylviacenter @gpfood #latkefestival on social media!

LATKE RECIPES

LIZ NEUMARK'S POTATO LATKES

INGREDIENTS

PROCEDURE

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped

  • 4 russet potatoes, peeled and grated

  • 3 eggs

  • 3 tablespoons flour or potato starch

  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt

  • ½ teaspoon pepper

  • 1 cup and 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 cup canola oil

  • Place 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet and saute the onions over medium to low heat until transparent and soft, about 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

  • In a large bowl, mix the onions, grated potatoes, eggs, flour or potato starch, salt, and pepper until combined well. 

  • Place the mixture into a large colander and set it over a large bowl to drain any excess liquid for about 10 to 15 minutes. Pour the latke mixture into a large bowl and set aside. Discard the liquid that was drained out of the latke mixture and scrape off the layer of potato starch that forms in the bottom of the bowl. Place the starch back into the latke mixture and combine well. This will help bind the latkes as they cook.

  • Heat the rest of the olive oil and canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. The oil should be about ½  inch deep. After 2 to 3 minutes, test the heat of the oil with a tiny amount of latke mix. If the mixture sizzles the oil is at the right temperature to begin frying.

  • Scoop a heaping tablespoon of the latke mixture into your palms and flatten it into a 3 to 4 inch patty. Gently place the latke into the oil and fry until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Continue frying in batches of about 4 to 6 latkes at a time, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Place the finished latkes onto a towel-lined tray to absorb any excess oil.

  • Serve the latkes warm with applesauce and/or sour cream.

More Recipes

MAE MAE’S BEET LATKE

INGREDIENTS

PROCEDURE

  • 1 medium Tomato, diced

  • 1 Cucumber, diced

  • 1 small Red Onion, diced

  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh Mint

  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh Cilantro

  • 1 Lime, zested and juiced

  • 1 tsp Lemon Verbena Oil

  • ¾ cup Vegan Mayo

  • 2 cups Matzah Meal

  • ¼ cup Corn Starch

  • 1 cup shredded Beets

  • 1 cup shredded Yukon Gold Potatoes (squeeze out excess liquid)

  • 2 tbsp grated White Onion

  • 1 tbsp grated Garlic

  • Mix vegan mayo with chives and lemon verbena oil. Cover and set aside

  • Combine tomato, cucumber, red onion, mint, cilantro, lime juice, and chopped lime zest- season with salt and pepper to taste

  • Combine the grated beets, Yukon gold potatoes, onions, garlic, matzah meal, and cornstarch. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  • Let sit for 10 minutes to let the mixture absorb

  • Heat Canola oil in a sauté pan over medium heat

  • Add walnut-sized balls of the mixture into the pan- flatten into disks with a spatula. Cook until crispy on first side then flip and crisp the other side. Drain on paper towel. Repeat with the rest of the mixture.

More Recipes

CURRIED SWEET POTATO LATKES

Yield 16 3-inch pancakes

INGREDIENTS

PROCEDURE

  • 1 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and grated

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 tsp sugar

  • 1 tsp brown sugar

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 2 tsp ground coriander

  • 1 tsp ground cumin

  • 1/4 tsp turmeric

  • 1/4 tsp cayenne/ chilli powder

  • Salt and pepper

  • 2 large eggs, beaten

  • ½ cup milk

  • Oil

  • Mix the flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, coriander, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, and salt and pepper.

  • Add the eggs and just enough milk to the dry ingredients to make a stiff batter. Add the potatoes and mix. The batter should be moist but not runny; if too stiff, add more milk.

  • Heat ¼ inch oil in a cast iron pan or heavy-bottomed saute pan until it shimmers. Drop in the batter by tablespoons and flatten. Cook several minutes on each side until golden. 

  • Drain on paper towels and serve.

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