There is something gratifying about fried foods that no amount of shaming can entirely wipe away. We all hanker for hot chippies on a cold day, or a fat slab of milk chocolate (it’s the fat content we crave, not the cocoa content). On days like these, to deny ourselves would be needlessly cruel. That said, there are some fried foods which we countenance more so than others. I’ll never embrace a deep-fried Mars bar no matter how it’s sexed up. Fried food should at least be honest, not to mention entirely tasty.
From northern Europe, there are as many recipes for latkes as households in Poland, but at the heart are three simple foods – potatoes, apples and sour cream. To have one without the other is, I now realise after a recent conversion, something of a let down.
Traditionally eaten at Hanukkah, these potato cakes really can be embraced at any time, but they are never better than on a chilly morning, in place of your usual eggy fry-up.
4 medium-sized potatoes (about 700g); 1 medium-sized onion; 1 egg; pinch sea salt; ¾ cup plain flour; olive oil for frying; stewed apple, to serve; sour cream, to serve
Peel the potatoes and onion and grate them into a large bowl. Squeeze the shredded potato thoroughly to eliminate as much water as you can.
Add the egg and salt and mix it thoroughly, then add the flour, a quarter of a cup at a time. Add enough to make a batter the consistency of a cake mix – it should be stay a little wet.
Heat about 1cm of oil in a fry pan over medium heat and spoon a quarter of a cup of potato mixture into the pan. Smooth the potato down to a flat round, about 1.5cm thick, and cook gently for about 4 minutes on each side until golden brown and cooked through. Keep warm while you finish off the rest of the potato mixture.
Serve with stewed apple and a spoon of sour cream over the top and eat them while the latkes are still warm and crispy.
$5.25 for 12 latkes