July 14, 2024
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July 14, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

The Festival of Fried Food

Are you an applesauce or sour cream type? Gravlax? Or perhaps creme fraiche with caviar? Just plain? Doesn’t matter how you eat them, it’s just not Chanukah without the scent of frying oil in the house. The kind of smell that clings to your skin, hair and clothes. You just can’t get rid of it, can you? But then again, you don’t really want to. It’s that smell oozing from your very pores that announces “I’m a latke” so it must be Chanukah.

When I was growing up we ate simple, plain potato latkes. They weren’t hand grated, and they weren’t even grated by a food processor. They were made in a blender. Combined with egg, oil, onions, matzah meal, and poured into circles in the hot frying pan. Almost like little round, flat potato kugels. They were delicious. I say that because nowadays if you make just a plain potato latke it’s kind of old fashioned and passe. If you are entertaining you are definitely looking for something else. Something unique to fry. Like a parsnip zucchini latke or a sweet potato scallion latke or even a feta cheese latke. You must have a smorgasbord of fancy latkes flavored with unique and exotic ingredients to pass muster.

And then, of course, there are the sufganiyot. Delicious fluffy doughnuts fried in oil and filled with jelly or custard or chocolate. Decorated as if they were the star of a glossy magazine cover. The possibilities are just endless. I presume that by now you have had your fill of these delicious Chanukah traditions. And now the topic of every food blog and article is how to make the perfect latke, or how to make the best sufganiyot.

But it doesn’t matter what article you read, or how perfectly you follow the perfect instructions for the perfect latke. The only perfect latke is golden brown, crispy and hot, freshly fried, right out of the pan. That’s it. That’s the secret. Of course you risk getting your hand slapped by the chef, with the admonishment of “It’s for later.” I promise, it won’t be as good later. Guaranteed. It’s worth the sting.

With Chanukah more than halfway over, and looking for new ideas of stuff to fry, I came across a recipe for friklach, from the Young Israel of New Rochelle Holiday Cookbook. It was actually submitted by my mother and, in the little blurb before the recipe, it said her mother used to make these for Chanukah. So basically it’s my grandmother’s recipe. Although, interestingly, I had never heard of them, my mother never made them, nor had I ever tasted them…so of course I had to try them. They are basically fried pieces of dough, sprinkled with sugar. Many different cultures feature fried dough variations, and this one fits the Chanukah bill. All the benefits of the holiday spirit without the grating or the waiting. Pretty simple, and different. So if you are done with latkes and jelly doughnuts, give these a try! Don’t worry, you will still get the frying-oil scent permeating the house, keeping the Chanukah feeling around for a little longer!

Friklach

3 eggs

3 Tbsp. water

3 Tbsp. sugar

½  tsp. salt

About 2 ½  C. flour, or more

Combine first four ingredients. Add flour until a dough forms that can be rolled out. Roll dough thinly on floured surface and cut into triangles.

Make a slit in the center of the triangle and pull the tip of the triangle through the slit. Fry in hot oil until browned. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with powdered sugar. You can cheat by doing the same thing using wonton wrappers! Best served fresh.

Happy Chanukah to all and may the light of our candles illuminate the darkness that threatens us.

Rachel is a real estate attorney, currently trying to get the smell of frying oil out of her hair. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram @The Kosher Dinner Lady. You can contact her at [email protected].

By Rachel Berger

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