Hanukkah Food Traditions

Tonight marks the second night of Hanukkah and what better way to celebrate the Jewish holiday than to share some tradition Hanukkah foods. Chef Zehorit Heilicher joins TCL to share some of her favorite recipes.

Traditional Latkes


3 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, grated
2 medium onions, grated
2 medium carrots, grated
1 cup cilantro, minced
1 tablespoons ground cumin
1 large jalapeno, or serrano, minced, optional
2 large Eggs
1 teaspoon Baking powder
salt and pepper, to taste
oil for frying

For Serving:

2 cups sour cream
8 ounces lox, divided
1 bunch fresh dill

Make the Mixture: Place grated potatoes, carrots and onions in a clean kitchen bowl and squeezes to rid of liquid.
The drier the mixture will, the better it will fry up!
Next combine all rest of ingredients, except oil, with vegetables in a large bowl.
Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Fry the Latkes: Heat oil in a 12” frying pan.
Form a patty from the mixture in your hands about 3″ long 2″ wide.
Place in the hot oil and cook about 3 minutes per side, until deeply golden brown.
Place fried latkes on a plate lined with paper towel to drain.

3. Serve:

Traditional: Serve hot, with apple sauce.
Twist: Serve with plain sour cream or upgrade it by placing a dollop of sour cream on each latke, topping it with a piece of lox and a small sprig of dill.

Sufganiot (Israeli Hannukah Doughnuts) – 2 Ways
1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup warm water
3 cups flour, all-purpose
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon oil
2 large eggs
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon brandy, or vanilla
1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon salt

For Deep Frying:
Canola or Peanut oil
1 small carrot, washed

1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons Cardamom
2 cups sugar


Proof the yeast: In a large measuring cup, add water, 1 tablespoon of sugar and the yeast. Set aside to proof for 5 -10 minutes.
Make the dough: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together oil, eggs, water, brandy, lemon peel (or lemon extract) and the salt. Add 2 1/2 cups flour, sugar, liquid mixture and the yeast mixture to the bowl and mix well, until a soft dough forms.
Turn the dough into a floured surface and continue kneading, adding more flour as needed to make sure the dough is soft and elastic.
Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover and let rise for 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Second rising: Punch dough down on a floured surface and roll out to 1″ thickness. Using a round 3″ cookie cutter, cut out circles of dough and place on a floured surface and cover. Let the cut circles rise for 45 minutes.

Prepare Topping:

Topping A: In a gallon size zip-top bag combine sugar, cardamom, and cinnamon. Shake well to combine and set aside.
Topping B: Combine cream with chocolate chips in a medium bowl and then microwave at 30 seconds intervals, stirring after each, until chips have melted and you have a smooth and shiny ganache. Stir in the vanilla.
Frying: Heat the oil in a large frying pan, 2″ deep to 350F. Place a piece of carrot in the oil, it will help prevent the oil from burning and will also indicate when it is ready.
Set a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels close by for the Sufganiot to rest once done.
Place dough rounds in the oil, making sure not to crowd them. Fry for about 1 minute per side, until golden brown. With a slotted spoon, place the Sufganiot on the prepared paper towels to cool slightly.

Option A:
Place 2 (still warm) Sufganiot at a time in the sugar bag and toss gently to combine, then set on a serving platter.

Option B:
Either dip the sufganiot in the chocolate, or using a piping bag, drizzle the ganache over them.

Serving: Serve immediately, these are best warm, and they do not keep well beyond the first day.

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