Potato pancakes, or latkes in Yiddish, are traditionally associated with Hanukkah, especially among Ashkenazi families, as they are prepared by frying in oil. There is a custom of eating foods fried,preferably olive oil, as the original miracle of the Hanukkah menorah involved the discovery of a small flask of pure olive oil.

At Wickedfood Cooking School, latkes have become a firm favourite in a number of our cooking classes, served as a snack with smoked salmon and the mustard dressing, or as a side dish with roast pork and apple sauce. Don’t overcrowd the pan while frying these latkes.

4 medium russet potatoes, peeled

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped

2T  matzo meal or flour

Salt and freshly ground black pepper oil for frying

  1. Grate potatoes on the large holes of a box grater, into a bowl of cold water. Allow to stand for at least ten minutes, completely covered, then drain and wash well which will remove most of the starch.
  2. Working with small handfuls at a time, squeeze out moisture from potatoes and transfer potatoes to a large bowl. Add eggs, onions, matzo meal/flour, and salt and pepper to taste and stir until well combined.
  3. Heat oil in a large deep pan over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Working in small batches, shape potato mixture into loose 8cm disks, and fry in hot oil, turning once, until golden brown and crisp on the outside, 2–3 minutes per side.
  4. Transfer potato pancakes with a slotted spatula to paper towels to drain.
  5. Season potato pancakes to taste with salt while still hot or serve with sour cream and/or apple sauce, if you like.

For more see Jewish inspired recipes see Jewish Delis Around the World

Wickedfood Cooking School runs cooking classes throughout the year at its purpose-built Johannesburg cooking studio. Cookery classes are run in the mornings and evenings 7 days a week (subject to a minimum of 12 people). The venue is also popular for corporate events and private functions – teambuilding cooking classes, birthdays, kitchen teas, and dinner parties with a difference.

Our cooking lessons are hands-on, where every person gets to participate in the preparation of the dishes. They are also a lot of fun where you not only learn new skills, but get to meet people with similar interests. For corporate groups and team building cooking classes these events are a novel way of creating staff interaction or entertaining clients.