This week celebrates Hannukah, a Jewish Festival of Lights that remembers the rededication of the second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, in Israel.
We spoke to well-known, highly respected and beloved Food Network chef Melissa Mayo who has been spicing up the kitchens of her fans worldwide for years about delicious Jewish foods to celebrate this festival with.
Mayo says more than anything she loves the fact that this holiday is about light. She believes that each human being has the light of their creator flowing through them and it is their duty to share and spread this light with others.
Mayo added that it is customary to eat fried food, since the oil of the menorah burned for eight days instead of one and she makes latkes for her family.
“I try mix up the same old latkes by using different root veggies like beetroot, parsnips, butternut, sweet potato and carrots in addition to the usual potato latkes. And I top them with cinnamon sugar, smoked salmon, jam, caviar, greek yoghurt, honey, jam, fried eggs and various berries to mix it up”, she says.
Below are Mayo’s Jewish food picks to celebrate with during this holiday.
Latkes or potato pancakes
These are made from shallow-fried shredded potatoes.
Brisket is enjoyed during many Jewish holidays in addition to Hanukkah, such as Rosh Hashanah and Passover.
Kugel is a traditional Jewish egg noodle casserole and is commonly served as a side dish. It can be transformed from sweet to savory by swapping out sugar and cinnamon for vegetables and spices.
This can be jelly, chocolate or custard filled donuts
Hanukkah Gelt is chocolate coins given out to the kids every night at candle lighting. One coin on the first night and two on the second etc.
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I LOVE YOU A LATKE Latkes are a potato pancakes traditionally served during Hanukkah. The latkes are fried in oil to symbolize the ancient lamps that held only enough oil for one day, but magically burned for eight nights. But the truth is you don’t need to be Jewish to enjoy these. The perfect latke is crispy and crunchy on the outside and soft and moist inside. Click save to keep the recipe for later. And join me tomorrow on @KTLA5live where I will be making these with the incredible @ktlasam and @nataliektla The spin of the dreidel, the warm candlelight, May your Hanukkah be happy, healthy and bright! Xxx Chef MM FOR THE LATKES 5 medium baking potatoes 2 sweet potatoes 2 eggs, beaten 1/2 cup flour 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper Olive oil for frying OPTIONS TO SERVE ON THE SIDE/TOP Sour cream and fesrh herbs, Cinnamon & Sugar ,Apple Sauce Smoked Salmon and chives, Pastrami, Avocado, Fried eggs, Cream and Berries, crème fraiche and caviar METHOD Peel the potatoes. Using the large holes of a box grater or a food processor, grate the potatoes. Transfer this mixture to a large dishcloth and wring out any excess liquid **** Place the mixture in a large bowl. Add the eggs, flour, salt & pepper. Toss the mixture with your hands to thoroughly combine. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a small drop of the mixture to the pan. If the fat sizzles around the edges the oil is hot enough. Drop 3 spoonfuls of the mixture into the hot oil. Fry till crispy and golden. Flip and cook the other side (approximately 2 to 3 mins per side). Place some paper towels over a cooling rack. Allow the excess oil to drain. Repeat with the rest of the mixture. Serve immediately. You can also place the rack on a baking sheet in a 425 F/ 220 C oven for a few minutes to warm through and re-crisp the latkes. CHEF’S TIP **** You can make the latke mixture ahead of time but you will need to squeeze out any extra liquid before frying. If the mixture is watery the latkes will be soggy. Makes 24
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For more info you can visit Mayo’s website www.melissamayo.com.