Potato and Carrot Latkes with Indian Spiced Apple Sauce

Potato and Carrot Latke

The total freedom of experimentation while writing Joy and Feast articles is extremely gratifying. Sometimes my experiments come from what produce I can source fresh, other times I find inspiration from a myriad of books or articles that cross my table. Sometimes I am able to explore food which has a significant meaning to me. Latkes or potato pancakes are a food that I have been acquainted with my entire life, I have wanted to write an article about them since I began this blog.

Potato pancakes are consumed during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, this is actually a fairly recent tradition. Jews, particularly in Western Europe have been consuming fried cheese pancakes for Hanukkah since the late middle ages. It was not until the mid-1800's when a series of crop failures in Ukraine and Poland forced farmers to plant potatoes, a nightshade crop from the new world. Perhaps this abundance of potatoes influenced the adoption of potatoes in place of cheese pancakes during this period. Potato latkes have remained prominent ever since. (Avey) Fried potato pancakes span well beyond Jewish culture, potato pancakes are regularly enjoyed throughout Central and Eastern Europe, as well as in the Middle East.

Often "traditions" or in this case traditional foods are confined to a dogmatic perception of culture, when in reality culture is fluid. Culture reacts to influences both internally and externally. Modernity has allowed cooks access to more information, ingredients, and communication than at any other point in human history. Lines have always been blurred, and we will continue down this path. Therefore, I believe that looking at one cultures "traditional food" through the lens of another culture can inspire some pretty creative and delicious meals.

The lens that I envisioned today's recipe through took influence from India's great culinary tradition. Firstly, it is worth noting that the nation of 1.2 billion people (World Bank) has different cultural and food traditions depending on region within the country. India has influenced and been influenced by far flung cultures and empires for millenniums. The silk road encouraged the trade of spices in which eastern and western cultures passed through India and left their mark. In addition, India contains tropical (wet and dry), sub-tropical, and mountain climates allowing for a diverse spectrum of agrarian potential.

What I love about Indian flavors is how the cuisine embraces pungency, spiciness, and boldness. A basic fresh apple puree, can become addictive with the right use of Indian spices. Garlic, ginger, and chili is a common trinity throughout tropical latitudes. Bold Indian flavors with Potato latkes make an unforgettable dish.

Potato and Carrot Latke
Potato and Carrot Latkes with Indian Spiced Apple Sauce

Potato and Carrot Latkes

  • 6 Russet potatoes, peeled
  • 2 Large carrots, peeled
  • 1 White medium onion, diced
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 1 c All-purpose flour
  • to taste salt & pepper
Cooking Directions
  1. Shred potatoes and carrots, I stored mine in acidulated water. That is water with about 1 t of lemon juice or vinegar. Omit this step if cooking latkes right away
  2. If stored in water make sure to thoroughly dry, extra moisture is bad for latkes
  3. Combine diced onion, shredded potatoes & carrots, eggs, and 1 c of flour into a mixing bowl. Season to taste.
  4. Heat up a pan over medium high heat with enough oil to cover the bottom.
  5. Patty out latkes and add them to pan once the oil sizzles when droplets of water touch, or over 350F. The thinner the latke, the easier it will be to cook through the center. Take care not to crowd the pan.
  6. When the latke starts to brown around the side, flip and cook until browned on the other side.
  7. When finished quickly pat dry with a paper towel to absorb excess oil, then place into a pan with a rack in a low temp oven while the rest of the batches of latkes finish.

Indian Spiced Apple Sauce

  • 4 Medium sized sweet apples, peeled and cored
  • 2 t Ginger, minced
  • 1 t Garlic, minced
  • 1-3 Chilies, sliced
  • 1/2 Lemon, juiced & zested
  • 1 Star anise
  • 1 Green cardamom pod
  • 5-8 Peppercorns
  • 1/4 t Brown mustard seed
  • 1/8 t Cumin seed
  • salt to taste
Cooking Directions
  1. Start with 4 medium sized ripe and sweet apples. Peel, core, then puree and set aside.
  2. Toast star anise, cardamom pod, peppercorns, brown mustard seed, and cumin in a dry skillet over medium high heat, constantly toss. Once the mustard seeds start to pop take off heat.
  3. Make a sachet with the toasted spice mix.
  4. Add vegetable or coconut oil to a pan and brown ginger and garlic for about a minute over medium high heat. Add the chilies and cook for another minute, constantly tossing or stirring.
  5. Add the apple puree into the garlic, ginger, chili mixture, and add about 2 T of water. Reduce heat to medium low. Add satchet of spices and cook for roughly 15 minutes.
  6. If to much water evaporates add more until a proper consistency and the spices meld with the sauce.
  7. Zest lemon and squeeze juice directly into the mixture. Add salt to taste and let cool to room temperature. Toss sachet when finished.
Total Time: 1 hour
Citations and Further Readings:
  • Avey, Tori. "Discover the History of Latkes During Hanukkah." Food. PBS, 12 Dec. 2011. Web.
  • "The Commonly Used Indian Spices." eCurry. N.p., 24 Aug. 2008. Web. 24 Aug. 2015.
  • "Total Population (in number of people)." The World Bank. World Bank, n.d. Web.


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