The Jewish holiday of Chanukah, or Hanukkah, honors the miracle when the Temple’s one day’s worth of oil lasted for eight nights. Because of this, many dishes eaten in celebration of the holiday are fried in oil. This is why latkes, fritters and doughnuts are such popular choices. Here, Philadelphia chefs Yehuda Sichel and Michael McNally share a few of their favorite recipes for the holiday. Impress your friends and family this year by recreating them at home.
Yehuda Sichel
Abe Fisher
1623 Sansom St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 867-0088
www.abefisherphilly.com

Chef Yehuda Sichel graduated from the Jerusalem School of Kosher Culinary Arts in Israel and was named in Zagat’s Philadelphia “30 Under 30: Rock Stars Redefining the Industry” in 2014. Below are his recipes for potato latke and gravlax. For a complete traditional meal, serve the latke and gravlax together with dill sour cream.

Gravlax

  • 1 each 6-oz. salmon filet pin-boned and skinned
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup gin
  • 1 Tablespoon ground caraway
  • 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika

Directions:

  1. Start preparation 5 days before serving.
  2. Combine the salt, sugar, gin, caraway and paprika.
  3. Coat the salmon filet in the salt mixture, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  4. On the 5th day, unwrap the salmon, rinse it and soak in ice water for 20 minutes.
  5. Let the salmon dry for at least an hour on a rack in the refrigerator.
  6. Dice the gravlax in 1/4″ pieces and set aside.
Potato Latke

  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 Idaho potatoes
  • 1 large egg
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Directions:

  1. Heat the canola oil in a pan over medium-low heat until it’s hot but not smoking.
  2. Using the large holes on a box grater, grate the potatoes.
  3. Combine the grated potatoes with egg, salt and flour.
  4. Split the potato mixture into four piles and carefully place the potato patties in the pan.
  5. Flatten with a spatula and fry on both sides until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes on each side.
  6. Let latkes drain on paper towels before plating.
Dill Sour Cream

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Combine sour cream, dill and salt.

For a complete meal, place latkes on a platter and spoon a large dollop of the dill sour cream on each latke. Top with the gravlax, and garnish with lemon zest, lemon juice and chopped scallions.

Related: Ask A Philadelphia Expert: Christmas Cookie Recipes

Michael McNally
London Grill
2301 Fairmount Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19130
(215) 978-4545
www.londongrill.com

Chef Michael McNally is the co-owner (with his wife, Terry Berch McNally) and executive chef of the Fairmount restaurant, London Grill. The McNallys took over London Grill in 1991 and have dedicated the past 25 years to making it a neighborhood favorite with a relaxed ambiance and bold, creative menus. The recipes below are just a few examples of the types of dishes Chef McNally offers during the holiday season.

Portobello Mushroom And Spinach Latke

  • 2 pounds baking potatoes or Yukon Gold
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 portobello mushroom, diced
  • 2 cups spinach, shredded
  • 3 tablespoons roasted garlic
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Salt and pepper
  • Vegetable oil or schmaltz (rendered chicken fat) for frying

Directions:

  1. Wash and peel the potatoes, placing them in cold water until ready to use.
  2. Coarsely grate the potatoes and onion using a grater or food processor.
  3. Place the grated potatoes and onions in a fine mesh strainer or tea towel and squeeze out the excess water over a bowl. The potato starch will settle to the bottom of the bowl. Carefully discard the water and keep the starch.
  4. Add the grated potato and onion to the drained starch and mix.
  5. Add the mushroom and spinach, and mix to combine.
  6. Add the egg and a healthy pinch of salt and pepper. Mix to combine.
  7. Heat a griddle or cast iron pan and coat the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of oil.
  8. Flatten about 2 tablespoons of the potato mixture in the palm of your hand.
  9. Place the potato pancake in the pan, using a spatula to flatten as needed. Fry on both sides until golden, flipping halfway through.
  10. Place browned pancakes on paper towels to drain the excess grease.
  11. Serve hot topped with apple sauce and/or sour cream.
  12. Makes about two dozen pancakes.
Sweet Potato Latkes With Goat Cheese

  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes (approximately 3 medium-sized potatoes), grated
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/2 pound goat cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Directions:

  1. Mix all of the ingredients except for the oil in a large bowl.
  2. Chill in the refrigerator overnight, or at least for 2 hours.
  3. Add about 1/4″ of oil to a large hot skillet.
  4. Using your hands, create walnut-size balls of the potato mixture.
  5. Place the potato balls in the hot oil, flattening them with a spatula.
  6. Fry the potato pancakes until they’re lightly browned on both sides, flipping halfway through cooking.
  7. Place fried pancakes on paper towels to absorb any extra oil.
  8. Serve topped with sour cream and caviar.
Hanukkah Fritters

  • 2 envelopes active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon anise seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus oil for deep-frying

Glaze:

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1-½ cups honey, warmed

Directions:

  1. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the lukewarm water in a small bowl. Let stand for about 5 minutes, until foamy.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, anise seeds and salt.
  3. Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon to create a dough.
  4. Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly floured work surface and knead for about 5 to 8 minutes until it’s no longer sticky.
  5. Shape the dough into a ball, place in an oiled bowl and cover with a kitchen towel.
  6. Let the dough rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, until it has doubled in size.
  7. Place the dough on a floured surface and punch it down to flatten. Form a square that is 1/2″ thick and let it rest for 15-20 minutes.
  8. Cut the dough into 36 triangles.
  9. Heat 3 inches of vegetable oil in a deep saucepan.
  10. Drop a handful of dough triangles into the oil and fry until golden, about 5 minutes.
  11. Use a slotted spoon to remove the fried fritters and place them on paper towels to drain.
  12. Transfer dried fritters to a serving plate and keep warm until all of the dough has been fried.
  13. Make the glaze by stirring the lemon juice into the warm honey, and drizzle over fritters.

Related: Ask A Philadelphia Chef: Top Latke Recipes for Hanukkah

Michelle Hein is the social media editor for a women’s fashion company in Bucks County by day and a self-proclaimed food and drink fanatic by night and weekend. She enjoys attending wine classes, trying new recipes in the kitchen and going to old favorites and new restaurants alike in the Bucks County and Philadelphia area. If the writing gig doesn’t pan out, she constantly dreams of owning her own bakery…perhaps connected to the restaurant/bar that her lawyer husband would love to open.
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