Gluten-Free, Better Than Your Bubbe’s, Latkes
Going out for dinner was a special treat when I was a kid. And, that special treat didn’t happen often. I have so many memories of my Mom saying, “I can make that for you at home”: a reply I dreaded to hear.
So, now, as I look back at my culinary experiences as a kid, they’re really vivid because they were so rare.
I remember when a restaurant called the Pickle Barrel opened up in my neighborhood: it’s a Jewish restaurant that serves all the classics like latkes, matzo ball soup ex cetera, ex cetera.
The Pickle Barrel became my family’s go-to ‘special dinner outing’. And, I loved it. I got the same thing every time: latkes with sour cream and apple sauce, matzo ball soup, and a club sandwich. I found comfort in constancy, and I still do till this day.
Now, let’s fast-forward. In 2006, I contracted Lyme Disease, and my immune system went hay-wire. I suddenly become really allergic to gluten and corn. So, naturally, I had to go gluten and corn-free…which meant no more latkes or matzo ball soup for me!
For all of you that are not familiar with latkes or matzo balls: latkes are potato pancakes and matzo balls are made with wheat. The latkes need a little bit of flour to hold them together. So, you can see why I had to give them up. Wheat flour contains gluten (so does barely, rye, and some oats).
I think it was a good four years until I discovered that you can make latkes gluten-free. (Yes, yes…I know what you’re thinking…why did it take you four years?).
It wasn’t until my man, who is a chef, was asked to make latkes for a catering that he said, “why don’t you make some latkes using brown rice flour, instead?”.
Holy crap! The solution was so simple. But here’s the kicker…I had never made a latke before. I relied completely on the Pickle Barrel to supply my habit.
But just like any other problem, there is ALWAYS a solution. My man taught me how to make gluten-free latkes, and I’ve been making them for myself and my friends for the last six years.
And, the best part about this recipe is…my Jewish friends always say, “these latkes are better than my Bubbe’s!” It makes me smile to know that I’ve got some street cred with my Jewish peeps.
Making healthy, gluten-free, sugar-free food for friends that triggers warm, fuzzy memories gets me right in the heart, every time. My grandmother loved to cook up a storm and feed the world, and it was her way of showing love.
Making great food is an act of love, not only for you but your friends and family as well.
So, without further ado, I present to you my recipe for gluten-free ‘better than your Bubbe’s’ latkes. Serve them up with the traditional organic sour cream or apple sauce, or I also like organic Greek yogurt.
This is one of my coveted recipes, so share it with love.
- 3 large white potatoes (or 6 small). Not baking potatoes.
- 1 + 1/2 medium Vidalia or sweet white onion, finely chopped.
- 2 tsp of sea salt
- 2 tsp of ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup of peanut oil or grape seed oil
- 1 egg white
- 3 tbsp of brown rice flour
- Pre-heat your oven to 380 degrees F.
- Peel the potatoes, and grate them either with a hand grater or food processor. Place the grated potato in a medium sized mixing bowl.
- Sprinkle 2 tsp of sea salt over the grated potato, and thoroughly mix the salt through the potato using your hands.
- Cover the grated potato with plastic wrap. Using a dish towel, lightly push the plastic wrap down on top of the potato so that you eliminate as much of the air space between the plastic wrap and potato as possible.
- The salt will pull water out from the grated potato. Let the salt do it’s work for 30 minutes.
- Uncover the grated potato after 30 minutes, and get a new, clean mixing bowl ready.
- With your hands, scoop out a handful of grated potato and squeeze out as much of the water as possible. (I like to squeeze the potato over the kitchen sink). Place the squeezed potato in your new, clean mixing bowl. Keep taking out more handfuls of potato and squeezing it until all of the grated potato and squeezed of water.
- Into the freshly squeezed potato, pour in 1 egg white, 3 tbsp of brown rice flour, 2 tsp of pepper, and a sprinkle of sea salt.
- Mix the potato mixture thoroughly with you hands.
- Touch a little bit of the potato mixture to your tongue. Ask yourself, ‘is there enough salt?’. If the potato mixture tastes bland, add another sprinkle of salt.
- Shaping the latkes: Take out a baking/cookie sheet. Now, with your hands, pinch out a ball of the potato mixture. (You want the ball to be the size of 2 gulf balls.) Form the potato mixture into a ball using your hands. Lightly pat or press the ball into a disc shape, place the raw potato disc onto your baking/cookie sheet. Continue to make the raw potato discs until all of the mixture is gone. (It’s always best to make the raw potato discs before you heat up your pan or skillet. Once the oil in your pans is hot, you’ll need to move fast.)
- Heat up 2 oven-safe pans or 2 iron skillets on high heat. Once the pans are heated, lower the temperature to medium, and add 1/4 of a cup of oil into each pan.
- Place a raw potato disc into the pan. Move quickly. Get all of the latkes into the pan and oil. You will probably fit 6 or 7 latkes into each pan.
- Once the latkes are browned lightly on one side, flip them over.
- Once you flip all of the latkes over, place both of the oven-safe pans into the oven.
- You will cook the latkes, in the oven, for a total of 40 minutes. But keep an eye on them. After the initial 25 minutes, you will need to flip the latkes, again. If the latkes are browning too quickly, turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees F.
- These latkes will be deep brown and super crispy. When you remove them from the oven, sprinkle them with a little bit of salt. Let them cool on top of some paper towel (the paper towel will absorb any excess oil).