Sunday, December 13, 2009

Something Completely Different (Chanukah edition) [UPDATED]

Although we comprise several different denominations, Jews tend to fall into two distinct physical/cultural branches: Ashkenazic and Sephardic. The former refers to those of us of eastern European descent, the latter Mediterranean. A good friend has loaned me his copy of the latest Bon Apetit, which includes Mexican Chanukah foodways, which fall under the Sephardic rubric.

For many years, I've prepared "latkes" - potato pancakes - according to Ashkenazic tradition: grating potatoes and onions together, adding in some egg, flour and salt, mixing well and frying. I have my own little "secret twist" which yields surprisingly crunchy exteriors with creamy interiors. But they're still a variation of the Ashkenazic tradition.

Tonight, my youngest and I made latkes according to the Mexican (Sephardic) recipe in the BA. These include cilantro in the batter, and and ancho chile (we subbed in chipotles) "sprinkle" and are accompanied by a watercress guacamole:

My usual latkes are about 3 or 4 inches in diameter and about a half inch thick; these are more like "latke bites," but the cilantro really shines through. And the watercress adds a little "bite" that really cuts through the potentially greasy little fritters.

They were gone quickly.

UPDATE: This afternoon (Sunday), Junior and I made our tradition Ashkenazic version. Here's a comparison of the two types:

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