Joyful Jewish

Posts Tagged ‘latkes

Sew your own felt latkes

I needed some latke-shaped beanbags for a latke-tossing game (as you do) and a quick browse of the internet lead me toa fantastic tutorial on how to make a beautiful felt latke (and some other cool things).

Latkes made by Brittany, you can find them on Etsy.

Thus inspired, I made half a dozen of my own.  As you can see, my use of darker brown shades of felt give the more realistic impression that I occasionally forget to flip my latkes quickly enough and they do get a little crispier than is perhaps optimal!

Felt latke

Latkes made by me, you can find them on the floor, or wherever they’ve been flipped to recently.

I more or less followed Brittany’s tutorial, but only put the small felt pieces on one side.  Apart from being a bit of a fiddle, it makes it easier to see if you’ve flipped your latke if one side is plain and the other side is fancy.  I attached the small pieces of felt with iron-on double sided adhesive, then just put a few stitches through for decoration.

Felt latkes in a pan

I made a separate fabric pocket containing some rice, and then sewed the felt pieces together either side of it. Hopefully this means that even if the felt comes apart (which is unlikely) the rice won’t be able to leak out.

Anyway, they make great beanbags for latke flipping, latke tossing, balancing latkes on your father’s head, and general flying latke mayhem.  Plus they sit still long enough to be photographed, which is more than I can say about the ones I cooked for dinner this evening.

Cardboard latkes in pans

I came across this idea here, while looking for some pretend latkes to make.  It’s a cardboard latke attached to a cardboard frying pan.  Finally, mess-free frying!

You will need:
– small cardboard plates
– extra large popsticks (tongue-depressor size)
– sticky tape
– yellow cellophane, or anything else that can represent oil
– glue
– brown and/or cream cardboard
– something to decorate the cardboard to give an impression of latke-ness (I used brown spot stickers cut in half)
– string or wool

To make the frying pan, sticky tape the extra large popstick to the base of a small cardboard plate.
Add “oil” by sticking in a circle of yellow cellophane (or you could draw it in with yellow crayon etc).

Cardboard frypan

Cut out two latke shapes – if you use a combination of colours, it’s easier to see whether or not you flipped it over when you tossed it.  Stick together slightly offset, and decorate.

Cardboard latke

Punch a hole into both the frying pan and the latke, and tie a piece of string or wool to both, so that your latke is much harder to lose.

Practise your latke tossing skills! Flip them up and catch them again.  Flip them over.  Flip them into someone else’s pan. It’s not as easy as it looks when you’re tossing a flat cardboard latke – or maybe I just need a lot more practice!

Flip your latke

Last Chanukah I had a go at inventing my own mixed vegetable latkes, and they were not bad.  But this year I decided to try someone else’s tried and tested recipe instead, and I’m glad I did.  Kveller’s contemporary latkes include the extremely delicious Sweet Potato Latkes (with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves) and the equally more-ish Gingered Sweet Potato Latkes with fresh ginger, soy sauce, spring onions and cloves.  So good that my daughter did me the honour of saying, at an oneg featuring many different latkes, “Mum, your latkes are the best!” (And she’s not even old enough to be saying that in the hope of getting more gelt!)


My daughter Talia attends a public kindergarten for 4-5 year olds.  Parents take turns helping out for a couple of hours, and my husband and I were “on duty” last Thursday.  A week earlier, I asked the teacher what she had planned for us to do, and she invited us to talk to the class about Chanukah.  So we did!  It was really nice to share our traditions with a group who, apart from our daughter, knew nothing about them.

Talia helped me make this collage to show what we do to celebrate. It’s a mix of printed out images, decorated cardboard, holographic contact paper and the wrappers from some chanukah gelt (because as Talia and I agreed, there wasn’t much point attaching chocolate to the picture when we could eat it instead.)

We talked about lighting candles for 8 nights (I took in several chanukiot and we counted the number of places to put candles, and the kids figured out how many to put in each night), eating latkes and doughnuts, and playing with dreidels.  I read them the book “Hanukkah Lights” which is really just a baby book but has cute pictures and covers all the things I had just talked about, and my husband and I sang them “Maoz Tsur.”

We took in a stack of little dreidels for the kids to try spinning, which they loved, and (having just learned the alphabet this year) they were fascinated by the Hebrew characters on them.  We also dished out some chocolate gelt, because frankly that was easier and less mess than making latkes!

I will definitely volunteer to talk to Talia’s future classes about this and other festivals in future, and hopefully next year we can get the whole class doing some Hanukkah themed craft to display next to all their Christmas decorations.

Lots of Latkes by Sandy Lanton, illustrated by Vicki Jo Redenbaugh

Set in a snowy European countryside of the imagination, this is the story of old friends who meet for a Hanukkah party.  Each intended to bring something different to share, but due to a series of mishaps, they all end up bringing the same thing – latkes.  Fortunately they know how to make a Hanukkah party special, even with a limited dinner menu.

This book is cute (and comes with a bonus latkes recipe in the back cover) but I found myself thinking what a shame it was for the lovely characters in the story that they had no family or children to celebrate with.   And again, it would be lovely to have a Hanukkah story which reflected our own, much warmer reality.

Our family loves to take a tradition and tweak it a bit.  🙂

Plain potato latkes are a bit ho-hum, so we make a colourful version which is delicious and about as healthy as you can get for a fried food!  My husband really dislikes fried potato (unlike me!) which is a bit of a handicap at Hanukkah.  However, I’m happy to say that he comes back for more of these.

How to make mixed vegetable latkes:

Grate 2 small potatoes, half a large sweet potato, half a large zucchini and half a large carrot (or equivalent amounts).  Put them in a sieve or colander and squeeze out as much excess liquid as you can (especially from the potato and the zucchini).
Use a V-slicer if you have one to finely chop half a large onion.  (You can grate it if you want, but make sure you have the tissues handy!)
Open and drain a very small tin of sweet corn kernels.

In a large bowl, use a fork to beat together 2 eggs, about 6 tablespoons of self-raising flour, and a good shaking of dried Italian herbs (or whatever takes your fancy and adds a bit of flavour).

Add the grated/chopped/drained vegetables and stir.  At this point it looks like coleslaw with way too much mayonaise on it.

Heat a heavy based frying pan with about 1cm of canola oil.   It’s hot enough when a little bit of vege thrown in starts sizzling in a satisfying way.  Place spoonfuls of latke mixture in the oil, flatten a little and allow to cook for 3 minutes.  Turn over and cook for another 3 minutes on the other side.

Take latkes out and immediately place onto kitchen paper – cover with more kitchen paper and press gently to absorb excess oil.  Keep warm as you cook the remaining latke mixture, especially if you want to serve them all at the same temperature.

Delicious served hot, cold or anywhere in between.   I love them with a slightly spicy fruit chutney, but you could use sweet chili sauce, BBQ sauce, or even (heaven forbid!) something traditional such as apple sauce/sour cream.

B’tei avon!


Fun crafts and activities for Jewish families with young children

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