By Leah Koenig
Eating foods fried in oil is one of the greatest pleasures of celebrating Hanukkah. In America, the most beloved Hanukkah foods include latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts). And these two deep-fried hors d’oeuvres are certainly a great place to start. But why not use Hanukkah as an excuse to indulge in other fried dishes? If you are planning to make latkes for a Hanukkah party, your kitchen is already destined to smell like oil—why not embrace it?
There’s plenty of opportunity to get creative with the deep-fryer. After all, anything that’s fried in oil is fair game for a Hanukkah menu. Why not expand into non-traditionally territory? This year, Jeff Yoskowitz, co-owner of the artisanal Jewish food company, The Gefilteria, and co-author of the upcoming The Gefilte Manifesto plans on serving deep-fried homemade garlic sour pickles (“I’ll serve them with horseradish aioli,” he said), gefilte fish, and even state-fair style fried Oreos alongside his latkes.
But remember, you’ll appreciate all that frying even more if you balance it out with refreshingly unfried foods. “It often makes for an awkward party when a host serves latkes followed by fried jelly doughnuts,” says Yoskowitz. “Nobody goes home with a settled stomach.” He makes an important point. For the sake of your guests’ satisfaction, it’s a good idea to round out the offerings at a Hanukkah gathering with a few non-fried foods — fresh salads and pickled vegetables are especially smart antidotes to all that tasty oil.
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Ready to shake up your annual Hanukkah fry fest, or start a new tradition? Pick a dish from each category below, and get sizzling.
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES: Start things off in a (relatively) healthy fashion by frying up fruits and vegetables. Crisp up artichokes in olive oil or thinly slice fennel and fry it until it is mellow and crunchy. Or just make your latkes out of zucchini instead of (or in addition to) potatoes. Or kick off the meal with some crunchy fried plantain chips.
MEAT AND FISH: Italian Jews traditionally include fried chicken in their Hanukkah fare. In a twist on that tradition, try these rum, soy sauce, and lime juice-marinated fried chicken bites. For main-course Hanukkah dishes, go for old school fish and chips or duck confit, which is decadently cooked in duck fat.
SNACKS: Give your Hanukkah guests a heartier and more satisfying nosh with delicacies like fried almonds and crispy fried chickpeas. Perhaps it’s a stretch to call them healthy, but at least they pack a dose of protein!
SWEETS: Finish off your Hanukkah fry fest with a little something sweet. And fried, of course. If you want to keep the doughnut theme, go for New Orleans-inspired beignets. Or wow your guests with a plate of tiny fried apple pies or a gorgeous Greek dish of fried pastry spirals with honey, sesame, and walnuts.
More from Epicurious: photos: Romulo Yanes; Ditte Isager
More from Epicurious:
photos: Romulo Yanes; Ditte Isager