Hanukkah (also spelled Chanukah), the Jewish festival of lights, begins at sundown tonight. Latkes (potato pancakes) are a traditional Hanukkah food, usually fried and rich in oil--after all, oil plays an important role in the story of Hanukkah and its celebration. If you love latkes but are watching your fat intake, here's a great way you can still enjoy delicious latkes while cutting back on some of the fat.
First, use olive oil. Olive oil is one of the healthiest fats you can consume, and you can select "pure," "virgin" or "light" (refers to flavor, not fat content) olive oil instead of extra-virgin if you want a neutral oil flavor.
Second: Instead of frying the latkes, "oven-fry" them! This technique uses less oil AND less oil is absorbed by the latkes. Whether you prefer crispy latkes or softer-textured ones, you can make them in your oven.
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Spread a light coat of olive oil on a baking sheet. Depending on what size and texture you want for your latkes, use either a 1/4-cup measuring cup or a Tablespoon for dropping the latke batter onto the baking sheet, and form into rounds (smaller, thinner latkes will be crispier, unless of course you shorten the cooking time). Bake the latkes until golden brown, turning once after about 15 minutes (total cooking time should be around 20 to 25 minutes).
Alternatively, you can bake the latkes at 450°F, especially for smaller, crispier latkes, turning once after 10 minutes (total cooking time should be around 15 to 20 minutes).
Enjoy with your favorite toppings--apple sauce or chutney being the low-fat choices instead of sour cream. But if you crave the richness of sour cream, your best bet for flavor and mouthfeel is to use a high-quality nonfat or reduced fat plain Greek yogurt instead of fat-free sour cream. I personally don't care for the flavor or texture of fat-free sour cream, which is often packed with less-desirable ingredients in an attempt to duplicate the mouthfeel of fat. More importantly, most people can't tell the difference between a good, all-natural nonfat Greek yogurt and full-fat sour cream.
Happy Hanukkah to all of our friends who are celebrating the Festival of Lights!
Carolina Sauce Company