the elemental ingredients for traditional potato latkes are as follows:
potatoes — main ingredient
onion — seasoning ingredient
eggs — binding agent
salt, pepper (ginger, opt) — seasoning agents
flour/matzo meal/*potato starch — thickening/binding agent
in terms of exact amounts, that is always a issue for argument, especially amongst jewish cooks. one says this way, the other that way. i will leave that up to you but suggest reading the latkes, latkes & more latkes post and looking at the recipes there. if you are really desperate for measurements call bubby or you can certainly email me :-)
i will say the basic rule of thumb for me is 1 egg for every 2 medium-large potatoes, large grate, 1 small onion, NO FLOUR, salt & pepper to taste. multiply appropriately to feed the armies.
please note however that,
- the onion is always done first so the potatoes do not oxidize;
- i do use flour when i use the blender/pulp method but only a scant 1 tbsp due to its consistency;
- i do not rinse the potatoes after grating as i feel the starch is essential for the "perfect" latke;
- i always use a tea towel to drain the mixture to prevent loss of starch and to control how much moisture remains. i do this squeezing into a bowl and drain off the water. you will see there is *white starch at the bottom. do NOT get rid of this. mix it back into the potato mixture. try it, it really does work the best (& squeeze 'til your eyes bulge!);
- i always make one and taste it before continuing with the whole batch. nothing worse that a bad batch. taste and adjust what you need to.
grated knuckles or not!
the blender/pulp method:
the how to —
- quarter your onion and put in blender or food processor;
- add cut up potatoes and blend/process until you have a pulpy mixture;
- add this mixture to a clean tea towel and squeeze into a bowl until no more water coming out. reserve the starch after pouring off the water;
- place this in a bowl and add your eggs, flour and seasonings. don't add too much flour or you'll get pancakes [you may not even need it]. mix well;
- fry in oil til browned.
the how to —
- quarter the onion and with attachment, grate the onion;
- choose the size of grate you want for the potato and continue to process into the onion mixture. do this quickly;
- drain your mixture in a tea towel by squeezing into a bowl. drain off the water and keep the starch;
- add your eggs and seasoning with the potato and onion mix and stir well;
- fry til browned on both sides.
- larger grate (below) — i find these the best of all 3 types
the box grater method:
the how to —
- cut off one end (not the root end) and peel. this is to prevent it falling apart while grating it and to avoid fumes from the root end;
- grate the onion finely into a bowl;
- choose which grate you want for the potato and grate directly into the onion. give it a stir between potatoes to redistribute the onion to prevent oxidization (see picture as example of why you want to grate directly into the onions. yucky, huh?);
- place mixture in a teatowel and squeeze the water into a bowl. drain off the water and keep the starch;
- put potato mixture into the starch and add your eggs, seasonings, and flour if using. fry until golden.