Surprise Stuffed Latkes

“Hanukkah, oh Hanukkah, I pray for good health and lightness in the new year, for all of my friends and family and those who come my way. “

On December 2nd, Hanukkah has begun. It is a time to honour what is right, good and just. It is a time to come together in faith and light.

I know what you will say: what is catholic-church-baptized white man preaching to. And I understand the confusion. I have been touched by Judaism and the studies of the Torah for a long time now and have always felt closer to its truth than to my born-given Bible. The main purpose of my study of Judaism and Shabbat is to understand a people and it’s culture while respectfully welcoming the possibility of openness. As a tradition each year for Hanukkah and as a symbol of faith I light up incense and send positive energy and wishes out to the world. And my intention is done with the utmost of respect for the culture and dedication of the people, because I know I could never fully comprehend the extent of the rule. I do not belong to any synagogue and have only a few Jewish born friends who themselves do not observe the Shabbat in its full. I am sorry if my intention to share my passion in food within Judaism passes as insult to anyone out there, my intention is far from such. I know I am gentile and observant. 

In the spirit of the holiday, I am at home with cooking a couple of recipes that are dear to coming in as an observant. As on other Shabbat, I normally switch up my regular cooking to add a few recipes to always celebrate with food as my main guide. I always try to mix things up a little and this time around I want to share with all of you the recipes I have used over the past few years during Hanukkah and made my own a little. Over the holiday, I will present a few traditional recipes with a twist, starting with the Obvious potato Latkes recipe. The Preparation of Latkes is a tradition based on the preparation of cheesecakes served to widow Judith, the daughter of a Simeonite who beheaded Holofernes, allowing Israel to counter-attack the Assyrians.

My week will start off with the basics: Oil, Dairy and Fruit. I will not be using an open flame or overly exhausting my work. The recipe I am using for the Latkes comes from The Book of Jewish Food by Claudia Roden, a beautifully designed Ashkenazi and Sephardi Cookbook that will give you more than a few options for most of the recipes, meals or Shabbat preparation. The book really is a must-have for anyone who enjoys cooking meals and food from all parts of the world or cultures.

This time around, my vision in preparing this recipe was to add a surprise kick: Mozzarella and jalapeño. Call this my impossibly Korean-influenced brain trying to add more to something that does not need a fix. But hey, The jalapeño is used in a small amount just to give a spicy touch. You can always remove the mozzarella and jalapeño, but where would be all the fun in that? Additionally, You don’t have to use flour because the egg is already binding together the latkes, but it makes them easier to handle. Follow on for the recipe! 

SURPRISE STUFFED LATKES INGREDIENTS

Makes 10 Latkes, takes 25 minutes to end.

  • 3-4 Medium Potatoes, Peeled and Grated
  • 1 Small onion, chopped roughly or Grated
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper and 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 10 mozzarella bites, using fresh mozzarella or mozzarellassima bar
  • 1 Small jalapeño, cut into 10 bits
  • Oil for frying

HOW TO

Grate the Potatoes after peeling them and mix with prepared onion. 
Add the remaining of the ingredients and mix well. Leave aside a little and prepare your cheese and jalapeño.
To Simplify the process, use an ice-cream scoop and fill one scoop half-way with the latke preparation. Add the cheese stuffer with jalapeño and cover with more latke. Press down and drop on a plate. Repeat until you have your 10 balls.
Warm up your frying oil and set a paper towel on the side for later. 
Fry the Latkes on one side after pressing them down gently to flatten them. Take caution not to pop the cheese out of its latke envelope. The Higher the heat, the crisper the Latke will be. Fry for 2 minutes each side then turn over a third time to fry longer at medium-heat so the latkes cook thoroughly. 
Set on the prepared paper towel and blot the excess oil.
Serve immediately and as hot as possible.
To keep warm, pop them in the oven at 325F while you finish up on other things, but don’t leave them in for more than 30 minutes.

Latkes can then be topped with plain yogurt or ideally sour cream and eaten as a side dish or snack. Traditionally, the Latkes are also used during tea-time while sprinkled with dusting sugar and can also be made with grated apples. Enjoy and stay tuned for more Hanukkah-celebrating recipes coming along! 

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