What do latkes have to do with matzoh ball mix? Well, once I wanted some latkes and matzoh ball mix was the only kind of matzoh meal I had in the house. It made fabulous latkes. Maybe it had something to do with the seasoning and the baking powder. You can use regular matzoh meal to make these and add your own seasonings.
Potato Latkes, with or without Matzoh Ball Mix
5-6 potatoes (about 3.25 – 3.75 lbs.), peeled
2 medium onions, finely minced
1 package matzoh ball mix OR 1/2 cup matzoh meal mixed with 2 tsp. kosher salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1 tsp. baking powder
Combine the eggs and matzoh meal in a bowl. Add the minced onion.
Grate the potatoes. Squeeze the potatoes dry. As you squeeze them dry, add them to the matzoh meal mixture and mix to coat with eggs. This helps prevent the potatoes from turning color (caused by oxidation, the same enzymatic process that turns raw apples brown–basically the sooner you mix in the grated potatoes, the better).
(If you want to go to the trouble, you can squeeze the potatoes dry over a bowl to capture the potato starch that will settle on the bottom of the bowl. If you do this, wait for the potato water to settle out, and then carefully drain off the the water. Scrape the potato starch into the batter. I didn’t bother this time, and the potato pancakes were excellent. )
Heat 1/8″ oil in heavy pan or pot (cast iron is really best because it maintains heat so well). When the oil is good and hot, add small spoonfuls of batter and fry on each side until golden brown (be patient, this takes a while). Drain on paper towel and serve.
Update: you can oven-fry these. Just line a baking sheet with non-stick foil (NOT regular foil, parchment paper might be okay, but don’t use regular foil). Pour oil over the surface of the lined pan. Drop spoonfuls of batter on the pan and put it into a preheated 450 degree oven. Take the pan out after 8-10 minutes. Flip over the latkes and put them back in the oven to bake until crisp and brown (15-20 minutes).
Bonus: another way to avoid browning is to par-boil the potatoes before shredding. See here for Mirj’s recipe.
Don’t want to fry? You can oven-fry. Take a look at this recipe from Kveller, based on a recipe from Melissa Clark. Or these from King Arthur (plus a step by step how to on the Banters Blog–this recipe combines oven frying with pre-cooking the potatoes). Both look so greasy-crispy you would never think they weren’t pan fried.