Grandma Val was my father's mother and Jewish by marriage. Her specialties were brisket, sponge cake, and anything involving a potato or cabbage (think coleslaw). She was born in 1917 and raised (with her two sisters), by a single and very tough Polish mother (who brewed bathtub gin by day and turned their house into a speakeasy at night...Grandma and her younger sister slept with the full jugs when their house was raided), who no doubt made potato pancakes for them. I don't know where this recipe comes from (perhaps her sister-in-law Edna), but Grandma Val made them frequently and served them with their natural counterparts, applesauce and/or sour cream. Grandma used regular Idaho potatoes (she shopped religiously in King Kullen). I also recall her frying them in schmaltz (chicken fat). This made them EXTRA crispy and like two dishes (mashed potatoes and fried chicken) in one. - testkitchenette —testkitchenette
Test Kitchen Notes
Grandma Val did a great job coming up with this recipe. My family loved these crispy and nicely potato-ey pancakes and they were a snap to make. Refrigerating the batter for 1/2 hour after mixing is familiar as my mother's family uses the same method for matzo balls. Testkitchenette's instructions are clear and easy to follow and produced a delicious result. There was no browning of the shredded potatoes which is a big plus to me. Otherwise this is a pretty traditional Jewish style latke with one difference: frying in butter or shmaltz. I used sunflower oil for frying, not for health reasons, but because I tested these during Hanukkah and felt compelled to honor the tradition of using oil. However, I suspect that using an even richer frying medium would produce an even more delicious pancake. The only thing I would change is the serving size. I don't know if we went overboard, but this served four and we could have eaten more! —healthierkitchen
- Serves 4
potatoes (she always used Idaho), grated and soaked in cold water (drain and squeeze all extra moisture out till dry)
chicken fat or butter
- In a bowl, beat the eggs and add the potatoes, onion, salt, pepper, and matzoh meal. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for about 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
- Heat half the fat or butter in a non-stick (if you'd like) skillet and drop the potato mixture in it by the tablespoon. Fry until browned on both sides. Add more fat/butter as needed when frying. Keep warm until they are all fried.