Hanukkah celebrates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 165 BCE. Though they had just enough oil to light the menorah for one night, by some miracle it stayed lit for eight nights. To honor the holiday, a menorah is lit for eight nights and fried food, to commemorate the oil, is consumed. This year, look to Jewish communities around the world for fresh Hanukkah inspiration, or create your own traditions with your family’s favorite fried foods.
If fried chicken only seems appropriate for summer picnics, think again! Italian Jews traditionally make pollo fritto for Hanukkah. Instead of a buttermilk marinade, which isn’t kosher (meat and milk cannot be mixed), brine the chicken or soak it in beer to get an equally juicy bird.
Latkes may be the most famous Hanukkah food, but you can grate and fry plenty of vegetables. Turkish Jews often make leek patties for the occasion, sometimes mixing boiled, chopped leeks with ground beef. Try this recipe for fried zucchini patties, which are slightly more nutritious than traditional potato pancakes.
In Israel, fried, jelly-filled donuts are the most popular Hanukkah food. But making donuts at home can be a messy and time-consuming affair. Instead, try this quick and easy recipe, which uses store-bought biscuit dough as the base.
In addition to pollo fritto, Italian Jews also celebrate Hanukkah with precipizi. These lightly sweetened dough balls are fried and dipped in honey that hardens to create a satisfying and sticky exterior. Get the recipe below!
Makes 20-24 dough balls
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