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Video: Making potato pancakes

TODAY recipes
updated 12/23/2008 9:40:00 AM ET 2008-12-23T14:40:00

Recipe: Potato 'nik' and latkes

  • About 2 pounds starchy potatoes, like Idaho or russet, peeled
  • 1 medium onion, peeled
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons bread crumbs or matzo meal
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn, as needed

Potato 'nik'
1. Grate the potatoes and onion by hand or with the grating disk of a food processor; drain well in a colander or strainer. Combine the potatoes and onion in a large bowl with the eggs and bread crumbs; sprinkle with salt and pepper.

2. Put about 1/8 inch of oil in a large, deep skillet, preferably nonstick or cast-iron, over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot (it will shimmer), put the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the bottom is nicely browned, at least 15 minutes, adjusting the heat so the mixture sizzles but doesn’t burn.

3. To turn, slide the cake out onto a large plate, cover with another large plate, and invert the 2 plates together. Add a little more oil to the pan if necessary and slide the pancake back in, cooked side up. Cook for another 15 minutes or so, until nicely browned, then serve hot or warm.

Latkes (Potato Pancakes)
The original: Prepare the potato batter in Step 1 and heat the pan as described in Step 2. When the oil is hot, put large spoonfuls of batter into the pan to form individual pancakes. Cook until browned on both sides, about 10 minutes total per pancake. Drain on paper towels and keep warm in a low oven until all of the latkes are finished.


Other vegetables you can use: sweet potatoes (cooked over slightly lower heat for about 5 minutes less per side); a combination of potatoes and sweet potatoes, carrots, or turnips is also good.

Chef's note: If you don’t use a nonstick pan, coat the bottom of your skillet with about 1/8 inch of oil. And turn the thing carefully.

Serving Size

4 to 6 servings, Time: About 40 minutes

Recipe: Vegetable pancakes

Root vegetables are most common, but you can use whatever looks good to you, alone or in combination: zucchini, yellow squash, winter squash, corn, or chopped scallions; even spinach or chard is good (just cook, squeeze dry, and chop it first). And consider tossing in a tablespoon of fresh herbs or spices. Sweet potato and corn benefit from a bit of cilantro, zucchini comes to life with dill, and ginger or cardamom warm up winter squash beautifully.

  • About 1 1/2 pounds grated vegetables, peeled first if necessary (about 3 cups packed and squeezed dry)
  • 1/2 small onion, grated
  • 1 egg or 2 whites, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup white or whole-wheat flour, more or less
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil or butter for greasing the pan

1. Heat the oven to 275 F. Grate the vegetable(s) by hand or with the grating disk of a food processor. Mix the vegetables, onion, egg, and flour together. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add a little more flour if the mixture isn’t holding together.

2. Put a little butter or oil in a large skillet or griddle over medium heat. When the butter is melted or the oil is hot, drop in spoonfuls of the batter, using a fork to spread the vegetables into an even layer, then press down a bit. (Work in batches to prevent overcrowding; transfer finished pancakes to the oven until all are finished.) Cook, turning once, until nicely browned on both sides, about 5 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.


Chef's note: If you don’t use a nonstick pan, coat the bottom of your skillet with about 1/8 inch of oil. And turn the thing carefully.

Serving Size

4 servings, Time: At least 30 minutes


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