Ask A Houston Chef: Top Latka Recipes For Hanukkah

November 20, 2013 6:00 AM

For your family’s Hanukkah this year, why not try a little something different than your usual latke recipe? Jenny Tavor, owner of Jenny Tavor Custom Catering, presents two of her favorite recipes, a standard recipe for traditionalists and a southwestern-style recipe for those who want to shake things up. Make one or make both this year for a different take on something that is on your table every year.

Jenny Tavor
Jenny Tavor Custom Catering
2355 Blue Bonnet Blvd.
Houston Texas 77030
(713) 669-8350

Jenny Tavor Custom Catering is a catering service in the Houston area that offers both standard catering fare as well as Kosher dishes for Passover and the High Holy Days. The business also helps you to plan your event, and the menus are entirely customizable. With over 20 years of experience helping people host the best events with the tastiest food, Jenny Tavor knows a thing or two about catering, including preparing the many dishes that are served, like these latkes.

The Crunchiest “On The Outside” and Most Tender “On The Inside” Traditional Potato Latkes


  • 3 lbs Russet potatoes, peeled
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 leeks (white and light green parts only), diced
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 extra large eggs
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Sea salt and white pepper to taste
  • Vegetable or peanut oil for frying


  1. Fry the diced onion and leeks in 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil until lightly browned. Let cool slightly. Place in a mixing bowl.
  2. Shred the potatoes in a food processor. Remove half of the potatoes and add to the onions and leeks in the mixing bowl.
  3. Puree the remaining potatoes and add to the mixing bowl.
  4. Add lightly beaten eggs, flour, baking powder, salt and pepper to the mixing bowl and mix well.
  5. Heat at least one inch of frying oil in a heavy skillet.
  6. Fry one mound of potato mixture until golden brown on both sides and taste for seasoning. Adjust seasoning to the remaining mixture if needed.
  7. Cook the rest of the potato mixture by dropping mounds into the hot oil and frying until golden brown on each side.
  8. Drain on paper towels.
  9. Top with sour cream and cinnamon sugar, applesauce, a smoked salmon and crème fraiche and fresh dill garnish or with a combination of crème fraiche and salmon caviar.

Note: These taste best fresh from the pan, but you can make them ahead of time and crisp in a 350 degree F oven or freeze them for up to four months.

Related: Cooking Ideas For Kids From A Houston Chef

Latkes – Southwestern Style


  • 2 lbs Russet potatoes, peeled and shredded
  • 3/4 cup fresh corn kernels cut from the cob
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red pepper
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 Serrano peppers, seeded and finely diced
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup flour (add more if the batter is too loose)
  • 2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • Sea salt and white pepper to taste
  • Vegetable oil or peanut oil for frying


  1. Fry the onion and Serrano peppers in 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Let cool slightly in a mixing bowl with the diced red pepper and fresh corn kernels.
  2. Mix half of the shredded potatoes with the fried onion mixture.
  3. Puree the other half of the potatoes and add them to the mixing bowl with the shredded potato and onion mixture.
  4. Add to the mixing bowl flour, cornmeal, baking powder, lightly beaten eggs, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper and mix well.
  5. Heat one inch of oil in a pan.
  6. Fry one latke in the pan until it becomes golden brown on both sides. Taste the latke for seasoning and adjust as needed.
  7. Fry the remaining potato mixture by dropping mounds into the hot oil and fry until golden brown on both sides.
  8. Drain the latkes on paper towels.
  9. Serve with lime crema and fresh cilantro or fresh corn salsa or tomatillo salsa.

Note: These latkes can be made up to four months in advance and frozen to be crisped in a 350 degree F oven, but they taste best straight from the pan.

Lime Crema


  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup good mayonnaise
  • 5 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper


  1. Mix all ingredients together and chill.

Related: Best Ways To Celebrate Hanukkah In Houston

Crystal Hessong ia a freelance writer and a lifelong, fourth generation Houstonian. Her work can be found at

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