Curried Sweet Potato Latkes

Sweet Potato Latkes

Who said that latkes has to be made strictly from potatoes? Although it’s a custom that came from
East Europe. Being that potatoes was the main crop, potatoes were used and then fried in oil, symbolic of the oil from the Hanukkah story that kept the Second Temple of ancient Israel lit with a long-lasting flame that is celebrated as a miracle.
The word “latke” itself is derived (via Yiddish) from the Russian/Ukrainian word meaning “patch.” I suppose that the latke is patched together with some flour and eggs, and that may be how the name was derived. I love the Yiddish language… somehow the words they come up with sound so slapstick.

On the last week of the CSA I belong to,  the farm delivered sweet potatoes. Although the word potato is in sweet potato, it originated in Central America, no where near Europe. Although it is believe that Christopher Columbus brought sweet potatoes to Europe. In any event, now that you got a little culinary history,  I thought of making latkes with these and spicing it up with some curry. After all… I am a Mizrachi (Eastern Jew) Jew and I have to add my own personality to these. I also like the fact that eating something orange, that almost looks like a flame, illustrates the “Festival of Lights” with savory, aromatic and melt in your mouth deliciousness.

I made a batch of these for a Chanukah party I was invited to, and it’s a good thing I took these photos before I took them, because they were gone within 5 minutes flat. That’s how good they are. This recipe is inspired from Joan Nathan’s Jewish Cooking in America.

Curried Sweet Potato Latkes

Makes 16 pancakes

Ingredients
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled (3 medium sized sweet potatoes)
1/2 cup All-Purpose Gluten Free flour
3 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup Rice milk or soy milk
Light olive oil, for frying

grated sweet potatoes
flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and spices
Dollop of batter to form latkes in olive oil

  
Directions

  1. Grate the sweet potatoes in a food processor fitted with a grating disc.
  2.  In a separate bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and spices.
  3. Add the beaten eggs and rice milk to the dry ingredients to make a batter. Add in the grated potatoes and mix. The batter should be moist, but not runny. If it is, then add a little flour.
  4. Heat a thin layer of oil in a large skillet. Drop a tablespoon of mixture to form the latkes. Fry for about 2-3 minutes on each side. They should form a golden crust on the outside and be moist on the inside.

Sweet Potato Vegan Pie

What do you think of when you smell sweet potatoes roasting in the oven? How about when you see a carved pumpkin sitting on the outside steps of your neighbors’ home? I think of Fall- of course, and these orange vegetables mimic the turning of the leaves with its vibrant hues bouncing off the sun.

Thanksgiving for Vegetarians can be challenging, since it’s traditionally around a turkey, however thinking about this holiday for the real essence of what it was supposed to be is about being truly conscious of your surroundings and thankful for all that you have. In that light, you are more likely to take slow, healthier steps to consecrate this holiday in a more pleasurable way.


Thanksgiving is one of the rare holidays that my entire extended family have an opportunity to get together one time during the year. All my cousins, aunts and uncles can get together to celebrate just being together. Since we are roughly 60 people gathered in my aunt and uncles’ house, each one of us has to bring a potluck dish. This pie is my contribution and my thanksgiving to my family for our cohesiveness and a gift on how to eat tastefully and humanely.


The flavors of this orange fleshed pie are full, warm and inviting- everything you would want from a holiday pie. In fact the texture is rich and creamy, reminiscent of cheesecake with a naturally sweetened oat crust. No one ever guesses, unless I tell them that it’s vegan and that it’s made from sweet potatoes. Thanks to Stella from the Witchy Kitchen for sharing this recipe and giving the gift of this pie to my entire family.

Serve 8

Ingredients


Filling

2 (1 ½ cups) Sweet Potatoes

3/4-Cup Brown Sugar

2 tablespoons Tapioca flour

3/4 teaspoon Cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg

¼ teaspoon Salt

1 teaspoon Vanilla extract

¾ cup Unsweetened Almond Milk

1/4-Cup Plain Vegan Yogurt


Oat Crust

1 1/4 Cups Rolled Oats

1/2-Cup Pecans

6 Dates, pitted

2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil

1 tablespoon Almond Butter (any nut butter can work)

3 tablespoons Cold Water


Directions
                        1      Preheat oven to 400° F.

                        2      Wash sweet potatoes and prick them with a fork. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until done.

                       3      Remove from the oven and lower heat to 350° F. Allow the sweet potatoes to cool.
                       4      Place pecans in a food processor and break down to a very course meal. Add oats and pulse a few times till they become part of the course meal. Then add the dates, oil, and almond butter. Pulse till combined (the mix will be dry). Add water and pulse once or twice.
                       5      Pour mixture into a pie pan and press it until it goes up the sides of the pan (start from the middle and move out). Place in the fridge till crust is ready for pie batter.

                       6      In a small mixing bowl, combine sugar, tapioca flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
                       7      Place the sweet potato in another mixing bowl and mash it down with a fork until it is smooth. Add the sugar mixture and combine well. Then add the almond milk, yogurt, and vanilla. Blend till completely smooth.
       8      Pour into crust and place on the middle rack oven. Bake for 40 minutes or until filling hardens. Allow cooling on a baking rack for at least 3 hours.


Curried Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup

The most revered legume in Biblical times was the lentil, especially in the Jewish religion where lentils were eaten during mourning symbolizing the circle of life. Although viewed since ancient times as the poor mans food, in Arab culture it is considered an energizer and has flourished into many different dishes.
Preparing this soup transports me to my biblical and ancestral ties Lentils were part of the staple diet along the Spice Route; a region well known for its curry blends. Combining an ancient legume from the East with this orange fleshed potato creates a thick and hearty soup packed with spicy flavor. This soup uses the brown lentil, which has a bland flavor, however holds their shape well in cooking and so it’s ideal for a soup stew.
Servings 8
 
Ingredients
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium sweet potatoes (about 12 ounces each), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 large stalks celery, chopped
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 ¾ cup dry lentils, rinsed and picked through
6 cups water
2 teaspoon salt

Directions

1      In a large sauce pot, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté the onions and garlic until the onions start to soften. Add the sweet potatoes and celery, and cook, stirring occasionally, until sweet potatoes turn a bright orange, about 10 minutes.

      2      Add curry powder, fresh ginger, cumin, coriander and ground red pepper; cook, stirring for 1 minute.
      3      Pour in vegetable broth, lentils, and water; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender, 40 to 50 minutes. Add salt and adjust as necessary.