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Happy Hanukkah – Lets Deep Fry Gram’s Yam Latke!

I know, bad pun time, but give a girl a break! Mamma just wanted to grab everyones attention, and it’s a fact, today and the next eight days are all about oil! Since I cannot do any recipe with bacon, because that would REALLY be in bad taste, I decided out of all the lovely deep fried goodies that are traditional for today to share my version of Latke.

Festival Of Lights

Today marks  the first full day of Hanukkah, the eight day celebration marking the miracle that was witnessed by Jews during the Maccabean Revolt while they were in the process of  a rededication ceremony of the Second Temple during 2nd Century B.C. There was only enough untainted olive oil to keep the menorah’s candles burning for a single day, but the candles stayed flickering and bright for the eight nights while they searched for more oil. This event is what inspired the Jewish sages to proclaim these eight days what is also known as the Festival of Lights.

Maccabean Revolt

There are many things that are traditional for this holiday but the central theme of oil is in any and all recipes to be found. One of my favorite things, other than bacon, are Latkes. My grandmother use to make them out of Sweet Potatoes or Yams (yes there is a difference but that is for another time) So put away that diet journal and celebrate the diversity of food we have this time of year. If you are Jewish, I wish I could sit in the corner of the kitchen and just eat up the knowlege of all those wonderful tranditional dishes. One of these days I will master the Cheese Blintz that looks as good as I finally have gotten it to taste!

But enough, today’s recipe is all about the Yam. It probably would sound better if it read Sweet potato, but the fact is the yam is the prettier and starchier of the two. It also has a bit more robust flavor. Sweet Potatoes also are white and not golden, so there is the beauty of the color, like the color of a flame, and I think that is pretty cool since this food is celebrating those beautiful candles on the Menorah.

Gram’s Yam Latke

Nom Nom Nom


  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and grated
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of cardamon
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • Olive oil


  1. Wash and dry your yams. (your choice to either peel or not, I leave them on because of all the good things for you in the skins)
  2. Grate them with a large cheese grater (or the grating tool on your food processor)
  3. Place the grated yams in a colander and with a cheese cloth press the yams to release as much as the liquid in them as possible. (Since you are adding liquid and flour it is OK to lose the binding properties of the roots starchy liquid.)
  4. Have the yams sit while you combine the rest of the ingredients then press again, getting the last of the liquid out.
  5. In a large bowl, combine sweet potatoes, eggs, brown sugar, flour, cloves and cinnamon; mix well.
  6. Heat oil in large heavy skillet to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C for the Canadians and those that live across the pond).
  7. Form mixture into pancake size cakes, and fry in hot oil.
  8. Flip cakes after 2 to 3 minutes (the bottom will be a beautiful dark brown) and repeat.
  9. Drain on paper towels, and serve piping hot!  (traditional, “straight” potato latke is served with sour cream and apple sauce. you can still serve it with these, but I usually whip a little cinnamon sugar in apple sauce and some white sugar and nutmeg in the sour cream, to taste.)
Traditional Latke can be made without any egg what so ever, but it does bind them together better. Because of the low starch in the yam or sweet potato you need the egg and touch of flour as a binding agent.
If you are Jewish I hope you have a fantastic and delicious eight days and nights! If not, tomorrow I visit Yule, my central holiday being a follower of the Old Path. Happy Hanukkah Nosh people!

One Comment

  1. Learned something new today. Everyone always told me yams and sweet potatoes were the same. Aha! Now I know! This sounds very much like the potato cakes that we fry up here in the south. Good stuff. Will have to try it with sweet potatoes. 😀

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