It can be difficult to recreate traditional Jewish food as a vegan. My mom was an amazing cook, and I have fond memories of her noodle kugel, matzo meal latkes, chopped liver and potato latkes. I actually tried to recreate the chopped liver, but it’s not easy when the ingredients traditionally consists of chicken liver, hardboiled eggs, chicken schmaltz and onions. I think I tried to get the right texture using mushrooms, but it was a bust. Some things just can’t be duplicated.
I am pretty proud of one success however, and that’s my potato latkes. They’re not too difficult to veganize, because all you need to do is replace the egg, which I do using aquafaba, that liquid that comes in the can of garbanzo beans. Since this is a traditional dish for Chanukah (and if you want to know why, here’s a great article that explains it), I wanted to share it with you. A couple of words of wisdom to those new to homemade latkes: make sure the potatoes are as dry as possible after grating and used REAL matzo meal, don’t try to substitute cracker crumbs or some such. It’s easy to find in the kosher food section, so worth it and you can use the matzo meal in other recipes.
- 1 ½ pounds of russet potatoes
- ½ medium yellow onion
- ½ cup matzo meal
- 6 tbsp aquafaba (or you may use another egg replacer)
- 1 tsp salt
- Vegetable oil for frying (I use peanut oil, it has a high smoke point)
- Apple sauce and vegan sour cream for toppings
- Using the grater disk on your food processor, grate potatoes and onion together.
- Place grated veggies in a colander over a bowl to let drain, squeezing any excess moisture. Allow the bowl to sit until the water separates from the starch, then drain off the water (you won’t need it).
- After you’ve removed as much moisture as you think possible, place grated veggies in clean thin towel, such as a tea towel. Wrap the towel around the veggies and squeeze out any remaining moisture.
- Now you’re ready to assemble! In a large bowl, combine the grated and dried veggies, matzo meal, aquafaba, potato starch and salt. Mix well.
- Heat a good amount of oil, no skimping, in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Drop large spoonfuls of the mixture and flatten slightly. Cook until brown and crispy on each side, turning once.
- Enjoy topped with applesauce or sour cream, or my preference, both!