Chanukah Highlights From Around the World

Latkes! Sufganiyot! This innovative collection of recipes from culinary mavens Joan Nathan and Paula Shoyer will be sure to impress the guests at your holiday table. Chanukah fare with flair!

Zucchini Fritters
Photo: Gabriela Herman

Zucchini Fritters (Kolokuthokeftedes)
Adapted from King Solomon’s Table: A Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World by Joan Nathan (Knopf)
Yields about 36 fritters

Joan Nathan shares that she was served the best zucchini fritters ever at an outdoor restaurant in Athens, Greece, even better than those she used to eat in Jerusalem many years ago.

6 small zucchini, about 3 lbs
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 bunch fresh mint, chopped
1 tablespoon fennel fronds, chopped
2 1/2 teaspoons fresh dill, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (lemon thyme is fantastic here)
1 spring onion or 4 scallions, diced
8 oz (226 g) feta cheese, crumbled
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 cup (135 g) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
Canola or vegetable oil for frying

1. Cut the zucchini on the grating blade of a food processor or a box grater. Toss with the sea salt and the lemon juice. Let sit for about 15 minutes. Then squeeze the zucchini very hard in a strainer to remove the excess juices and put in a large mixing bowl.

2. Add the mint, fennel, dill, thyme leaves and the spring onion or scallions to the drained zucchini. Stir in the feta cheese, egg yolks and wine vinegar, then gently fold in the flour.

3. Create small patties about the size of a golf ball and dust lightly with flour using a small strainer. Arrange on a tray covered with parchment paper. Freeze them for at least 20 minutes. This will make them hold together better when frying.

4. When you are ready to serve them, fill a wok or deep fryer with about 3 inches of oil and heat until it is 375°F. When ready, fry about 5 at a time for a few minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.
Sufganiyot, Israeli Jelly Doughnuts
Adapted from King Solomon’s Table: A Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World by Joan Nathan (Knopf)
Yields about 2 dozen doughnuts

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 tablespoons sugar, divided
3/4 cup (175 ml) lukewarm milk
3 1/2 cups (450 g) unbleached all-
purpose flour (about)
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
Pinch of salt
Grated zest of 1 lemon
3 1/2 tablespoons (50 g) butter, at room temperature
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
1 cup (about) of apricot, strawberry, or any flavorful jam, dulce de leche, Nutella™ or lemon curd
Confectioners’ or granulated sugar
for rolling

1. Dissolve the yeast and 1 tablespoon of the sugar in the milk.

2. Put the flour in the bowl of a food processor equipped with a steel blade. Add the dissolved yeast, whole egg and yolk, salt, lemon zest and the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Process until blended, then pulse until a dough almost forms. Add the butter and process until the dough becomes sticky yet elastic.

3. Remove the dough to a bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place for at least an hour. If you want to prepare it ahead, place the dough in the refrigerator overnight, then let it warm to room temperature before rolling and cutting.

4. Dust a pastry board with flour. Roll the dough out to a 1/2-inch thickness. Using the top of a glass, cut into rounds about 2 inches diameter, then roll into balls. Cover and let rise 30 minutes more.

5. Pour at least 2 inches of oil into a heavy pot and heat to 375 degrees.

6. Drop the doughnuts into the oil, 4 or 5 at a time. Cook about 3 minutes on each side, turning when brown. Drain on paper towels. Using a pastry or cupcake injector (available at cooking stores and online), insert a teaspoon of jam into each doughnut. Roll the sufganiyot in confectioners’ or granulated sugar and serve immediately.

 

Mashed Sweet Potato Latkes with Zhug
Adapted from King Solomon’s Table: A Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World by Joan Nathan (Knopf)
Yields about 10 to 15 latkes

1/2 cup (55 g) panko breadcrumbs, plus more as needed
3 large sweet potatoes (2 to 2 1/2 lbs)
2 teaspoons coconut oil, melted
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Vegetable oil, for frying
Zhug, for serving (see following recipe)

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with foil. Pour the panko in a shallow bowl or baking dish and set aside.

2. Scrub the potatoes clean, then pierce with a knife and rub with the coconut oil. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a knife is easily pierced through the potatoes. Let cool and then peel (you can peel the skin off easily with your fingers).

3. In a medium bowl, mash the potatoes with a potato masher or the back of a fork. Mix in the egg, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Form into patties about 1/4-inch thick and 3 or 4 inches in diameter, then coat with panko.

4. Warm a 1/8-inch-thick sheen of vegetable oil in a large frying pan and fry the latkes until golden on each side, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Drain on paper towel-lined baking sheets.

5. Serve with zhug or any hot sauce you like, or omit the sauce if you like less spice.

Zhug (Yemenite Green Hot Sauce)
Yields about 1 1/2 cups

4 fresh green Serrano or jalapeño peppers (about 4 oz), stems removed and seeds removed but reserved
1 whole head garlic, peeled
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, well rinsed and dried
1/2 bunch parsley, well rinsed and dried
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Seeds from 2 green cardamom pods
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 to 1/2 cup (60 ml to 120 ml) olive oil, plus additional to cover

1. Put the peppers with the garlic, cilantro, parsley, cumin, cardamom seeds, and salt to taste in the bowl of a food processor. Begin blending and gradually adding 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the olive oil. Puree to a smooth paste. Taste and adjust for seasonings, adding some or all of the pepper seeds if you want more heat.

2. Transfer the contents to a sterilized glass jar, cover with additional olive oil, and seal so the jar is airtight. The zhug will keep for several months in the refrigerator, and the flavor will only become better with age.

 

Aquafaba Chocolate Mousse
Adapted from The Healthy Jewish Kitchen by Paula Shoyer (Sterling Epicure)
Yields 6 servings

Aquafaba is the thick liquid in canned chickpeas that we usually dump down the drain of the kitchen sink. When you beat chickpea liquid, it looks exactly like beaten egg whites, only they’re vegan. After you’ve used the liquid from the can, you can use the chickpeas in a salad.

Liquid from 1 15-oz (430 g) can chickpeas (reserve chickpeas for other use)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 tablespoons sugar
6 ounces (170 g) bittersweet chocolate

1. Place the chickpea liquid and cream of tartar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Turn on the mixer to low speed for 1 minute, then turn it up to high and beat the chickpea liquid and tartar mixture with the whisk attachment for a full 15 minutes. Turn the speed to low and add the sugar, a little at a time, to the bowl. When the mixture is thoroughly mixed, turn the machine back to high and continue to beat for 1 minute or until thick and shiny.

2. While the chickpea liquid is beating, place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat it for 1 minute. Stir and heat the chocolate for 45 seconds, and then stir it again. Heat the chocolate for 30 seconds, or more, until it has completely melted. You can also melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Set it aside.

3. Scoop up 1/4 of the beaten chickpea liquid and sugar and whisk it into the melted chocolate. Add another 1/4 of the beaten chickpea mix and whisk it in more slowly. Transfer this mixture to the bowl with the remaining beaten chickpea liquid and mix it in gently but thoroughly, so you don’t see any white spots.

4. Spoon the mousse into a large serving bowl or 6 individual bowls, cover them with plastic wrap, and let the mousse firm up for at least 12 hours.

Paula’s Note: Mousse can be made 3 days in advance.

 

Potato and Scallion Latkes
Photo: Bill Milne

Potato and Scallion Latkes with Pickled Applesauce
Adapted from The Healthy Jewish Kitchen by Paula Shoyer (Sterling Epicure)
Yields 6 servings

“Everyone loves potato latkes, but no one likes the mess of frying them, or the guilt associated with eating them,” says Paula. “These latkes are baked in the oven and easily won over my kids. You do need to watch them so they do not burn; they were done at different times in different ovens. The Pickled Applesauce is basically a tangy-spicy applesauce, which we also eat with schnitzel.”

Latkes:
2 tablespoons sunflower or safflower oil, or more if needed
1/2 medium onion, quartered
2 scallions, ends trimmed, cut into thin slices or chopped into small pieces
3 medium potatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs), scrubbed clean and unpeeled
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons potato starch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Pickled Applesauce:
1 teaspoon sunflower or safflower oil
1/3 cup red onions, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 apples, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch black pepper

1. To make the latkes, preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). When the oven is hot, pour 2 tablespoons of oil onto 2 jelly roll pans and turn them in every direction so that the oil coats the pans. Heat the pans in the oven for 5 minutes.

2. Place the onions and scallions in the bowl of a food processor and chop them into small pieces. Place them in a medium bowl. Shred the potatoes by hand on the large holes of a box grater or in a food processor with the shredding blade, and place in the bowl. Add the lemon juice, eggs, baking powder, potato starch, salt, and pepper and mix well.

3. Very carefully (I mean really carefully; move very slowly) remove one of the pans and use your hands or a spoon to scoop up and drop clumps of the potato mixture, a little less than 1/4 cup, onto the pan. Press the mixture down to flatten it a little.

4. Place the pan in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes and immediately remove the second oiled pan. Repeat the same process with the remaining potato mixture and bake the second pan of latkes for 10 to 12 minutes. Bake them until the edges are well browned, and then with a slotted spatula turn them over and cook the latkes for another 8 to 10 minutes, or until the bottoms are browned.

5. Meanwhile, to make the applesauce, heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook them for 3 minutes, until they soften. Add the vinegar and brown sugar and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the apples, coriander, ginger, cinnamon stick, salt, and pepper, and cook, covered, on low heat for 15 minutes, or until the apples are soft. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes and then puree it, using an immersion blender or a food processor.

Paula’s Note: Latkes may be made 2 days in advance and reheated in the oven or frozen; applesauce may be made 4 days in advance.

Norene Gilletz is the leading author of kosher cookbooks in Canada.

 

This article was featured in Jewish Action Winter 2017.