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Latkes

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Latkes or latkas (Yiddish: לאַטקעס, Hebrew: לביבה levivah, plural לביבות levivot) are shallow-fried pancakes of grated potato, flour and egg, often flavored with grated onion or garlic and seasoning. Potato pancakes may be topped with a variety of condiments, ranging from the savory (such as sour cream) to the sweet (such as apple sauce or sugar), or they may be served ungarnished. Potato pancakes are sometimes made from mashed potatoes to produce pancake-shaped croquettes.

Hanukkah tradition


Latkes are traditionally eaten by Jews during the Jewish Hanukkah festival. The oil for cooking the latkes is reminiscent of the oil from the Hanukkah story that kept the Second Temple of ancient Israel lit with a long-lasting flame that is celebrated as a miracle. Despite the popularity of latkes and tradition of eating them during Hanukkah, they are hard to come by in stores or restaurants in Israel.

The word leviva, the Hebrew name for latke, has its origins in the Book of Samuel's description of the story of Amnon and Tamar. Some interpreters have noted that the homonym levav means "heart," and the verbal form of l-v-v occurs in the Song of Songs as well.

Latkes need not necessarily be made from potatoes. Prior to the introduction of the potato to the Old World, latkes were and in some places still are made from a variety of other vegetables, cheeses, legumes, or starches, depending on the available local ingredients and food ways of the various places where Jews lived.


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References

Potato pancake, en.wikipedia.org

Israeli cuisine, en.wikipedia.org

Potato Latkes, www.epicurious.com