Recipes: Lovers of fried food rejoice — Hanukkah is here

For many people, potato latkes are mandatory for the holiday of Hanukkah, which begins on Sunday evening, Nov. 28.

Yet it’s the oil used to fry these potato pancakes that is central to the Hanukkah kitchen. The oil commemorates the miracle of the holiday.The story goes that after ancient Jerusalem was freed from invaders, the small amount of oil available for relighting the Eternal Light in the Holy Temple miraculously lasted for eight days instead of one. Therefore Jews light menorahs and fry foods in oil during the eight-day holiday.

Potatoes, which originated in the New World, were not known in ancient Israel. People could fry other vegetables, cheese and bread. For our celebration we plan to make oven-fried cauliflower, saffron tomato eggplant, cheese filo fingers and challah fritters.

This recipe for Challah Fritters with Sweet Tahini Sauce is from “52 Shabbats” by Faith Kramer. (Photo by Clara Rice) Challah Fritters with Sweet Tahini Sauce

This recipe is from Faith Kramer’s just-published cookbook, “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen.”

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The doughnut-hole-size fritters can be made a day ahead (without the confectioners’ sugar), wrote Faith, and refrigerated in an airtight container. Serve them at room temperature; or warm slightly on an ungreased baking sheet in an oven on low heat before serving. The sauce can be made two days ahead (without the silan); refrigerate in an airtight container.

Yield: About 40



A 1-pound loaf plain challah

4 large eggs, beaten

1 cup milk or unsweetened non-dairy milk

1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Vegetable oil (for frying)

Confectioners’ sugar or cinnamon sugar (optional)

Homemade or purchased chocolate sauce, warmed (optional)


1/2 cup tahini (stir in the jar before measuring)

1/4 cup cold water, more as needed

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 to 4 tablespoons agave syrup

2 teaspoons silan (also called date honey, date syrup and date molasses) (optional)


1. Shred challah in 1/4-inch pieces. Place in a large bowl.

2. In another large bowl, mix together eggs, milk, bananas, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and vanilla. Add shredded challah; stir until well combined. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate for 20 minutes. Stir well.

3. With moistened hands, roll about 1 tablespoon batter into a ball. Press it together firmly and roll it again, squeezing to compact it into a firm ball about 1 inch in diameter. Place on a plate. Repeat with remaining batter.

4. In a 12-inch wide, heavy pot, heat 1/2 inch of oil over high heat to 350 degrees (oil is ready when a bit of fritter batter bubbles as soon as it is added to pan; but for best results use a deep-fry or candy thermometer). Line a large plate with paper towels.

5. Roll fritters between your hands to ensure they are compact, then gently roll them off your hand and into the hot oil until you have 8 to 10 in the pot, being …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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