It’s latke time! Whether you’ve just lit candles for the second night of Chanukah, or all you know about Chanukah is the Adam Sandler song (one of my all-time LEAST favorite songs, by the way), you gotta make some latkes. Or at least, find somewhere to go eat them. Because Jewish or not, who doesn’t like crispy fried potatoes with sour cream and apple sauce?
That said, too much of a good thing definitely applies . And if you do happen to celebrate Chanukah, you know what I’m talking about. The first time you eat latkes on Chanukah, it’s totally awesome. But by the time the obligatory latkes hit your plate at the third Chanukah gathering you’ve been to, you may start to get a little…well…rebellious. My solution? Ditch the starchy, heavy potato and bust out your carrots! Need some more reasons to try carrot latkes? I’ve got ’em!
Three Reasons to Try Carrot Latkes
1. They’re prettier – and they’ll never turn grey on you!
Those of you who have made potato latkes know that you have to keep the potatoes in a bowl of cold water while you are making them to stop the potatoes from turning that nasty greyish brown color. This has never failed to annoy me, especially since your end goal is to get rid of as much moisture as possible from the potatoes – yes, the dreaded squeezing step! I’ve always found it irritatingly ironic that we’re actually prolonging the squeezing process (adding MORE moisture that must eventually be eliminated) just to preserve a white color.
Carrots, on the other hand, are naturally a wonderful orange color and will never turn brownish-grey, unless there is something seriously wrong with them. So that means NO cold water step. It also means that your finished latkes will be a beautiful golden orange – how can you beat that?
2. They brown more easily
Carrots have a higher natural sugar content than potatoes, which means they caramelize quickly and beautifully! You know that crispy golden brown exterior that is every latke-maker’s dream outcome? You don’t even have to work for it with carrot latkes. Provided you follow the tips for pan-frying on my beet fritters post, a golden-brown exterior is virtually guaranteed.
3. They’re better for you
Even though carrots have a higher natural sugar content, they are WAY better for you with regards to blood sugar spikes. Potatoes have a really high glycemic index, which means they have quite an effect on blood sugar levels. Many people also avoid potatoes (and other nightshades) because of their possible link to inflammation. Carrots, on the other hand, have a much lower glycemic load. They also contain tons of Vitamin A and antioxidants. And to my knowledge, they have never been linked to inflammation. In short, eliminating the post-latke crash and adding super duper carrot-fortified night vision makes post-Chanukah strolls much more enticing :p
And you’re not compromising on taste – believe me. These carrot latkes are just as fried, crispy, savory, and delicious as their potato relatives, but with a hint of ginger and some added freshness and crunch. (Nobody likes crunchy pieces of potato in the middle of a latke, but a little bit of crunchy carrot is fantastic.) Also, I can’t believe we haven’t talked about it yet, but the green apple sour cream is the bomb!
A couple notes about the recipe:
-Please view my tips for pan frying here. As I mentioned earlier, these latkes brown really quickly, so it’s extra important to make sure your flame isn’t too high. Also, pay less attention to the “don’t micromanage the frying process” tip for this particular recipe. Since these carrot latkes get crispy fast, you don’t want to let them sit for too long without checking them out.
-I’ve made these by hand and in a food processor, so I can say – with evidence to back me up – that they are better hand-grated. (This has always been my firm belief for ALL latkes, by the way). The food processor creates extra moisture, and even if you squeeze the carrots really well, in my opinion, it still affects the final product. If your grating blade is like mine, the food processor also grates the carrots more finely, which yields a latke that is denser and not as lacy.
-This recipe will make approximately 14 latkes.
Carrot Latkes with Green Apple Sour Cream
- 2 pounds carrots, grated
- 2 medium yellow onions, finely grated (1 cup of onion pulp)
- 1 generous teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger (use a microplane)
- 4 large eggs
- 4 tablespoons arrowroot starch
- 1 generous teaspoon celtic sea salt
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
Mix together the carrots and onions. In batches, squeeze the moisture from the carrot/onion mixture using your preferred method. (I like to use cheesecloth or kitchen towels – simply place a dollop of the mixture in the center of a piece of cheesecloth or kitchen towel, fold closed, hold the gathered part at the top, and squeeze the bottom like crazy.) Place the squeezed mixture into a clean, dry bowl – it should be very stiff. Add the ginger and mix very well to make sure it is well incorporated. Add the eggs, followed by the arrowroot starch, and then the salt and pepper, mixing well after each addition.
Form into patties – letting any excess moisture drip into the bottom of the bowl – and pan fry until golden brown and cooked through. (Remember, these cook faster than potato latkes so don’t walk away!)
Green Apple Sour Cream:
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 granny smith apple, grated
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon agave nectar
- pinch of salt
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Smother onto your carrot latkes and dig in!