Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Sweet Potato & Leek Latkes

gluten-free sweet potato latkes

Everyone in my family's been trying to eat a lower-glycemic, more nutritionally sound diet for a plethora of health reasons, so I thought we could do with a little change of pace this Chanukah. Breaking with tradition is always hard, but it can also be a good opportunity to try new recipes and create new relationships with ingredients. Tonight's experiment was one of those times when pushing the boundaries of "Jewish food" was well worth it. You may have noticed I am a big fan of the fried leek. In these latkes, the warm, mellow onion flavor of leeks compliment the sweetness of the sweet potatoes.

In addition to being healthier than traditional potato latkes, these sweet potato pancakes have a few other differences. They are less messy and easier to make. Because they don't have the potato starch that is so plentiful in white potatoes, they need a lot more help binding - Additional eggs and potato starch will do the trick (if you don't have potato starch, try tapioca or sweet rice flour - But stay away from grainier gluten-free flours such as regular white rice flour). Even with extra binder added, they have a looser and less sticky consistency so they need to be formed and placed in the oil and flipped with extra TLC. They take a bit longer to cook than regular white potato pancakes, so make sure to keep the oil turned down just a little below the heat you'd use for white potato latkes which will give them longer for the insides to cook before they become crispy around brown around the outer edges.

I recommend serving these tasty vegetable pancakes with sour cream or non-dairy cashew sour cream, but applesauce also works as a condiment. Chag sameach!

gluten-free sweet potato latkes


[ Gluten-Free / Dairy-Free / Pareve /
Vegetarian / Soy-Free ]

3 extra large sweet potatoes
3 large leeks
5 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup potato starch (not potato flour)
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Refined vegetable oil (preferably canola or corn oil)

Preheat oven to 200F (if you will need to keep the latkes warm).

Cut sweet potatoes lengthwise so that they are narrow enough to fit through the shoot of a food processor. Using the grater attachment of a food processor, shred the sweet potatoes. Alternately, use the largest holes on a box grater to grate the potatoes by hand.

Rinse the leeks well. Cut the dark green tops off of the leeks, as well as removing the roots from the very bottom. Cut in half lengthwise, and then slice widthwise in very thin slices. Combine the leeks with the grated potato in a large mixing bowl. Add salt, egg, and a generous amount of black pepper. Gently sprinkle potato starch across the top, then stir to combine thoroughly.

Heat 1/3 inch of olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat, until just below the smoking point.

Use your hands to pat a small handful of batter into a small, thin (no more than 1/3" thick) pancake. Gently lower each pancake into the hot oil. Press each latke with the back of a slotted spatula so that it becomes flatter and thinner. Fry until completely golden-brown on the bottom and crispy around the outside corners. Flip and brown on the second side. If the outside is getting browned and crispy before the inside has a chance to cook sufficiently, turn the burner down just slightly.

Transfer latkes to a plate lined with paper towels or several layers of brown paper (I use grocery bags). Allow paper to absorb excess oil, then transfer latkes to a cooling rack placed over a baking sheet in the preheated oven, where they will stay warm until ready to serve. Serve hot.

Extra latkes can be frozen on a baking sheet in the refrigerator, with parchment paper or freezer paper between the layers. When frozen, transfer to ziploc bags. Reheat in oven on 400 degrees F.

Serves 4.


Anonymous said...

i am going to try this for sure!
i love latkes and i love sweet potatos!

Alisa said...

I have been wanting to try latkes, and sweet potatoes make them look all the more appealing!

Allergic Girl said...

looks so good, i miss latkes...

belated chag sameach1

Katy said...

yum!!! these look so delicious!

Sheltie Girl said...

Happy Holidays!

Sheltie Girl @ Gluten A Go Go

Joe said...

I love latkes. Fabulous recipes. You might get a kick out of this,

Sea said...

Ooh, yum, sweet potato latkes. I'll have to try these- the leeks sound like a great addition!


kbabe1968 said...


Naomi Devlin said...

These look fantastic - I'm going through a sweet potato phase just now - working on some sweet potato pitta breads. Definately having these for supper.

Everything here looks so darned delicious, I don't know where to start!

x x x

Anonymous said...

hi, would you be able to recommend me a recipe for gluten-free oven-baked latkes? I'm teaching a Jewish tradition class for children with autism with low tolerance for gluten and I would like to make something with them for Chanukkah. I would appreciate any suggestions you may have for latkes or donuts. I'm just looking for a safe and easy recipe that does not require frying. Thank you very much, Maya Blank.

Olga said...

ooh, this looks great!!! YUM.
LOVE latkes :)

Fort Lauderdale catering said...

These dishes are definitely great to shared with family and friends during a get-together where you get to catch up.