Latkes-Japanese yam1

I found some delightfully magenta Japanese yams while foraging for seasonal goodies in the dark woods well-lit aisles of my local Whole Foods.

Vivid on the outside, they’re crisp-white inside, and a wonderful addition to a festive tray of roast vegetables. They were just the inspiration I needed for my annual Asian-twist latke tradition, which enters its 17th year (er, I started early!).

All you need to do is grate these yams, along with a regular potato, directly into a bowl of water and drain (and repeat). This keeps them from oxidizing, or looking like they’ve caught the bubonic plague. For good measure, I threw in some chopped, red serrano chilis and nori (seaweed).

latkes-grated potato

If you need to cut down on carbs, I’d suggest swapping out the potato for grated zucchini, and upping the eggs factor.

You may also find a recipe for Indian-inspired latkes here and some that are Chinese-inspired.

Fear not if you run into trouble with the batter, click here for some helpful tips.

When you’ve finally made a lotka latkes and need help restoring your now-greasy kitchen to its former stainless steel glory, click here for inspiration and tips. (You’re most welcome!)



Last but not least, here’s the recipe for Japanese Yam Latkes with Nori and Chili Flakes.  They fry up to a delicious crisp and don’t tend to be greasy. Once done, place them on kitchen paper to soak up any excess oil, and keep them warm in a preheated 280F oven. Serve with sour cream, apple sauce or thick, Greek yoghurt.

Enjoy, and Happy Hanukkah!

What you need:

  • Japanese yam, 1, grated
  • regular potato, 1, grated
  • leek, 2, sliced
  • ginger, 1 tsp, grated
  • nori sheet, 1, snipped
  • red serrano chili, 1, deseeded and chopped
  • salt, 1-1 1/2 tsp
  • eggs, 2, beaten
  • flour, 2 tbsp
  • soy sauce, 2 tsp

What you do:

  1. Grate the yam and potato directly into a bowl of cold water
  2. Do this a couple of times and drain it. Set aside
  3. Combine the first six ingredients
  4. In another bowl, beat the eggs with salt, soy and flour
  5. Stir the egg mixture into the now-drained grated spud mixture
  6. Heat some olive oil in a pan
  7. Once the oil is hot, turn the heat down to a moderate temperature
  8. Drop flattened handfuls or spoonfuls of potato batter into the oil
  9. Cook for 2-3 minutes each side, or till golden brown
  10. Lift them off the pan, drain on kitchen paper
  11. Keep warm in the oven or serve immediately