Although latkes (fried potato pancakes) are the most emblematic Hanukkah food in America, Israelis celebrate with a vast array of fried foods. Drawing on Jewish traditions from around the world, as well as creating new ones, Hanukkah in Israel is an international fried feast.
Tip: Get the recipe for batata levivot (sweet potato patties) below!
Tel Aviv’s popular Orna and Ella restaurant probably didn’t invent these savory sweet potato patties, but they certainly popularized them. As opposed to typical latkes, which are made with shredded potatoes, this unique recipe calls for mashed sweet potatoes that are flavored with a dash of soy sauce and fried as patties.
OK, so it’s not fried, and it’s not Hanukkah-specific, but no meal in Israel is complete without a big bowl of freshly made hummus on the table. To prepare the real deal, start with dried chickpeas, which are soaked overnight. Just this tiniest bit of extra effort makes a world of difference in the flavor.
A Middle Eastern favorite in Israel year-round, fried kibbeh are particularly popular around Hanukkah. In this dish, fine bulgur wheat is wrapped around a spiced, ground meat filling and baked or fried. Of course, for Hanukkah, it’s all about the fried food.
Hebrew for donuts, sufganiyot are the single most popular and iconic Hanukkah food in Israel. Elaborate donuts, filled with chocolate, cream or jelly, begin appearing at bakeries and markets at the beginning of December and taper out soon after the holiday. Other variations on donuts, like Moroccan sfenj and Spanish bimuelos are also popular.
Makes 32 pancakes
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