Vegan latkes with sour cream – two ways

Vegan latkes with sour cream – two ways

vegan latkes with cashew sour cream

Today, I’ve gone back to my roots and made a mountain of crispy golden vegan latkes (or ‘placki ziemniaczane’ as I know them) for dinner. Even though most people associate latkes with Hanukkah – Jewish festival of lights (Happy Hanukkah to those of you who celebrate it this week!), they also happen to be a Polish staple and are one of those dishes I remember fondly from my childhood.

Ever since I realised that Jewish people also make latkes, I’ve been wondering about the origins and history behind this humble dish.

My online research suggests that latkes have been invented by Eastern European Jews specifically for Hanukkah. Since Jewish tradition stipulates that a traditional Hanukkah dish needs to be fried and potatoes (and onions) are a staple food during harsh Polish and Russian winters, Jews living in Poland and Russia came up with a dish of shredded potato patties fried in hot oil.

The name latkes is likely to have originated from the Polish word ‘łatka’ meaning a patch, which makes perfect sense as in some areas of Poland older generations refer to this dish as ‘łatki’ (plural from ‘łatka’).

As with many dishes that span such a large geographical area and traverse so many cultures, there are many different latkes school of thought. Some people shred potatoes very finely and make vegan latkes thick with a crispy edge. I like mine very thin and crispy (so thin that you can see through them), and always grate the potatoes coarsely as it adds a nice texture.

I typically shallow-fry them or bake them in a hot oven. The former are definitely tastier, but the latter are a lot healthier so the choice is yours!

vegan latkes blotting excess oil

vegan latkes serving suggestion

vegan latkes with cashew sour cream-and-spring-onion

vegan latkes stack

makes
25
PREP
30 min
COOKING
20 min
makes
25
PREPARATION
30 min
COOKING
20 min
INGREDIENTS

SOUR CASHEW CREAM

  • ½ cup raw cashew nuts, soaked overnight
  • juice of ½ lemon, or to taste
  • salt, to taste

LATKES

  • 5 medium potatoes / about 1 kg
  • 1 small onion, very finely diced or grated
  • 3 tsp wholegrain mustard (optional)
  • ¾-1 tsp fine salt, adjust to taste
  • ground pepper
  • 30 ml / 2 tbsp aquafaba* / chickpea brine (optional)
  • 2 tbsp flour (potato starch or wheat flour if not GF)
  • oil, for frying or baking

METHOD
SOUR CASHEW CREAM

  1. Rinse the cashews well and put them into a blender with a splash of water. Start blending. You will need a silicone spatula to scrape the walls of the blender regularly.
  2. Add just enough water to make the cashew cream thick and smooth. Season with lemon juice and some salt. It is best to make the cream in advance and put in the fridge for a few hours as this will thicken as it chills.

LATKES

  1. Grate potatoes coarsely using a grater or food processor with relevant attachment. Place them on a sieve and let the excess water drain away. If you have a muslin cloth, put potatoes in the middle of a cloth and squeeze as much water out of them as you can – the drier the mixture the crispier your latkes will be. If you don’t have a muslin cloth, use your hands to get rid of excess water.
  2. In a large bowl, combine finely chopped onions, grated potatoes, mustard, pepper, aquafaba (if using) and enough flour to make the mixture bind together. Do not add salt until you are ready to form latkes as salt will make potato mixture weep and the mixture needs to stay dry for as long as possible.
  3. METHOD 1: Heat up a non-stick or ceramic pan on the stove. Pour enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan (you’ll need to top it up a little as you go along). Heat up the oil. Once the oil is hot, place a slightly heaped tablespoon of the potato mixture on the oil and flatten it with a back of your spoon. Fry on one side for a few minutes – do not flip the latkes over until they are browned all over on one side – you’ll notice the edges will turn brown, that’s the time to flip. Flip them to the other side using a flat spatula. Fry until the other side turns golden brown. Remove from the pan and place on a plate lined with kitchen roll to soak away excess oil. Put ready latkes in a warm (100º C / 210º F) oven while you fry subsequent batches.
  4. METHOD 2: Set the oven to 200º C / 390º F. Brush a baking tray with a little oil. Form latkes on the oiled tray, brush them with oil and bake for 10 minutes, then flip for another 10 and finally crank up the oven to 225º C / 435º F to brown the latkes for 5-10 minutes on both sides.
  5. Serve warm, topped with cashew sour cream.

NOTES
*Aquafaba is chickpea brine obtained from a tin of chickpeas or you can make your own. When making your own, soak chickpeas in lots of water overnight, rinse and put in a large pot with lots of water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for about 1 hour (until beans are soft). Remove cooked chickpeas with a slotted spoon and what’s left in your pot is aquafaba. If it is too runny (ideally it should resemble egg whites), you can concentrate it a bit by simmering it on a low heat (without a lid) until it reaches the desired consistency. Cool it down before using.

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NUTRITIONAL INFO
calories
49
2%
sugars
1 g
1%
fats
2 g
3%
saturates
0 g
2%
proteins
1 g
2%
carbs
7 g
3%
*per latke
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5.0
9 reviews, 27 comments
REVIEWS & QUESTIONS
Diane:
I made them for the first time today using the oven method and aquafaba. While forming the patties, I could not believe they were actually going to hold together. But to my great and pleased surprise, when it was time to turn them for the first time, they had already managed to cohere. They look good and taste great. Personally, I’d use about half the amount of salt next time. Thanks for sharing!
    Ania
    Ania:
    I am really happy that you enjoyed these, Diane and yes, salt is quite subjective but luckily easy to adapt to your taste. Thanks so much for taking the time to review, I really appreciate it. x Ania
Rhea Akler:
Question: do I add the salt to the mixture at the end and mix in before forming latkas or would it be better to just sprinkle salt on each side when frying? I’m just afraid of them being over salted. Also, what kind of potatoes do you use? Russet or Yukon? 🙏🏼
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Rhea, I would add a little (say 1/2 tsp prior to frying) and a little more (as and if needed) once done. I used Maris Piper (they are UK starchy variety) and from what I know Russet is the US equivalent. Hope that helps! Ania
JANE Morris:
OMG this recipe is superb. So tasty, add some vegan grated cheese - 🤤
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Jane, I'm delighted to hear that you enjoyed it and thanks so much for letting me know. x Ania
PniB:
Turned out perfectly! 👍👍 I used flax egg (1 Tbs ground flax with 3 Tbs water) instead of aquafina, and potato starch. I made them on parchment paper to avoid any risk of sticking. Delicious. Thank you!
    Ania
    Ania:
    I'm delighted to hear that, thanks so much! Ania
cuteheads:
I want to make these this Hanukkah with my kids, one has an egg allergy! Does the aquafaba need to be whipped, or no? Praying the answer is no lol. Thanks!
    Ania
    Ania:
    No, it doesn't in this recipe so you are good to go. Ania
Claire:
Amazing! I'd love to see more Polish recipes , it's so hard to find any vegan. I used to live near an ace Polish restaurant and I miss it!! :) Will definitely be trying these.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Claire,
    I've done quite a few over the years, see here, but I certainly plan to do some more in the future. Ania
BEH:
Do you whip the aquafaba?
    Ania
    Ania:
    No, not for this application, you don't need to do that! Hope that helps! Ania
Alicia Strait:
I just used this recipe and it's amazing! Added paprika, dried parsley and one garlic clove with a side of vegan coconut sour cream - thank you!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks for your kind words, Alicia!! I'm really happy to hear that! Ania
Paul:
My Jewish (& vegan) wife just said these were the best latkes she had ever had. I have to agree. The cashew sour cream was perfect. Served with apple sauce. Thank you!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks, Paul! I'm delighted to hear that! Ania
Jenn:
These were amazing!! Thank you for making me look like I cook latkes all the time. I used ground flax seed and water as my egg replacer and it worked great. Yum yum yum. I’m absolutely book marking this for easy reference again.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Ha ha, my pleasure, Jenn! I'm happy to be of service anytime :) Ania
Natalia Zapala - Movshovitz:
Made yesterday as princess requested them (very early Hannukah:-)
Question: do you think I can freeze aquafaba?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Yay! I love that you call her 'princess' :) Sure, you can, you can portion it in an ice cube tray and defrost as little or as much as you need. x
Katharine sullivan:
I am allergic to chick peas. May I omit this?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Katharine. I have not tried making latkes without chickpea brine so the honest answer is I'm not 100% sure, but it is worth trying it. I'm sure they will work, but the taste / texture may be affected. Alternatively, you could try using one of these natural egg replacers. Good luck!
    Ania
    Grace:
    The chickpea brine can be substituted with another bean's brine such as cannellini bean or other bean. They will work the same i'm sure.
      Ania
      Ania:
      That's a very good point, Grace! I guess I assumed (wrongly) that if someone is allergic to chickpeas they will also be allergic to other types of beans and didn't even think of this alternative.
Margaret Somm:
Hi! Very excited about these. We are having a latke party New Year's Day.
Is there anything I can use to replace the chickpea brine?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Margaret, I'm glad you like the look of these. Chickpea brine acts as an egg replacer. You could just use flour (although I think they may not turn out as crispy) or one of these natural egg replacers. Having said that, I have not tried it so you'll need to test first. Hope it works out!
    Ania
Savitha R Bhat:
Very nicely presented!Tempting and looks yummy!must try,one question to ask,aquafaba to be added as it is or should it be whipped before we add it to potato mix?Thankyou😊
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Savitha, thank you - I'm pleased you like the recipe. I added AF to the lakes mixture as is but since I made my own I reduced it on the stove for 20 minutes first to thicken it up. It maybe a good idea to reduce a tinned AF too if it's runny. Hope that helps. Ania
Thalia @ butter and brioche:
These latkes look SO yummy! I love your bright and fresh photography of them.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you for your lovely comment, Thalia!
Laura.:
Perfect comfort. Thanks for the share. I see this tonight in my plans.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, pleased to hear that! Hope you like them!
Maikki // Maikin mokomin:
Looks great! I have never made latkes but maybe I should :)
    Ania
    Ania:
    I highly recommend trying them:) My boyfriend never had them before he met me and now he loves them.
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