Channuka Favorite Foods

A friend once told me he could sum up Jewish holidays in a sentence: An enemy tried to destroy us, but didn’t, so now we eat.  This is definitely true for Channuka.  Favorite foods of mine are potato latkes and sufgonyiot (a sort of jelly donut affair).  I didn’t know how to make really great latkes until I got married and Greg explained that I needed to get the excess starch off of the potatoes and then drain them really well.  And sufgonyiot?  I learned a really easy, magical recipe from Allyse Mitchell, a friend from my synagogue.

Latkes (Potato pancakes)

  • 4-5 lbs. russet potatoes
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 C matzoh meal
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Oil for frying

  1. Peel the potatoes and then wash them.  Grate the potatoes and put the grated potatoes in a bowl of water immediately.  This prevents oxidation (discoloring) and helps extract the excess starch from the potatoes.
  2. Put the minced onion in a colander and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the salt.  Let stand.
  3. Heat the oil in a pan.
  4. Drain the water from the potatoes and then mix in the onion.  Put the entire mixture into a clean towel and squeeze out all of the water that you can.  The drier this mixture is, the better.
  5. Put the potato and onion back in the bowl and mix in the eggs, matzoh meal and remaining teaspoon of salt.
  6. When the oil is hot (test it by dropping one potato shred in the pan), put a small scoop of potato mixture in the pan and flatten it to about 1/4 inch thick. When the first side has browned, flip it over to finish cooking.  Remove it form the pan and let it drain on brown paper, or paper towels.  When it is cool enough, taste it for seasoning.  Add more salt if needed.
  7. Place large spoonfuls of potato mixture in the oil, and flatten the mound to be about 1/4 inch thick.  Turn when the underside is browned.
  8. Drain on brown paper or paper towels.

I’m not sure how many latkes this makes because they get eaten as they come out of the pan.



  • 4 C flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/4 t baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 1 pint sour cream
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 t vanilla

Oil for frying

  1. In a deep skillet, heat oil.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients.
  3. In another bowl, mix the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla, and then add it to the dry ingredients.  Mix well.
  4. When the oil is hot (check by putting a tiny bit of dough in the oil — if it sizzles, it’s ready), place heaping tablespoons** of dough in the hot oil.  Flip when the underside is brown.
  5. Drain on brown paper or paper towels.

These are great as-is, rolled in sugar or cinnamon-sugar, or filled with jelly.

Thin down the jelly with some water and mix it until it is smooth.  Fill the injector and shoot it in the donut.  Don’t be overzealous, though, or jelly ends up all over the kitchen.

**I use a trigger ice cream scoop for this.  It makes things much easier.

Each night, as we light one more candle, let it be a reminder that every day of our lives we should strive to bring a little more light into the world.  My friend Woody Pollock said that to me a long time ago.  Thanks Woody, for bringing so much light into my life.