In the kitchen with Henny: Another spin on Hanukkah

In keeping with some of the Hanukkah traditions, like eating dairy and foods using olive oil, here’s a festive get-together menu that won’t last in your stomach for eight days.

 The writer baking for Hanukkah. (photo credit: HENNY SHOR)
The writer baking for Hanukkah.
(photo credit: HENNY SHOR)

The doughnuts have been on the shelves for a month now in Israel, and we’re feeling the shorter and colder days with anticipation to add the lights and warmth that Hanukkah brings us.

I love the traditional latkes and doughnuts, with chocolate coins spread about, but by Hanukkah day No. 4, I need something different, lighter, perhaps a new “spin” with the dreidel!

In keeping with some of the Hanukkah traditions, like eating dairy and foods using olive oil, here’s a festive get-together menu that won’t last in your stomach for eight days.

 Dairy potato soup (credit: HENNY SHOR) Dairy potato soup (credit: HENNY SHOR)

DAIRY POTATO SOUP

This soup is just perfect for getting a Hanukkah gathering heated up! Made with potatoes and topped with sour cream, it won’t leave guests feeling cheated out of potato latkes. My niece made this soup for my mother once, and she took an immediate liking to it and then shared it with me. Even before making it, I knew I would love it by the simple, yet perfect harmony of ingredients. Get your spoons ready!

Yields 6-8 servings.

  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 onions, chopped 
  • 6 potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 3-4 cups water
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. farina/oatmeal/polenta
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped parsley leaves (fresh or dry)
  • Sour cream and parsley to garnish

In a medium-sized pot (4-8 liters), melt the butter and then slightly brown the onions. Add the potatoes, carrots, water, salt and pepper. Bring it to a boil and stir in the farina or oatmeal until well incorporated. Continue cooking over a low heat for 25 minutes. Stir in the milk and half of the parsley leaves and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat to simmer for another 10 minutes and serve.

You can serve it as a chunky soup or use an immersion blender just for 30 seconds to give it a creamier feel, while leaving some of the chunks. Garnish with sour cream and extra parsley leaves.

 Zucchini latkes (credit: HENNY SHOR) Zucchini latkes (credit: HENNY SHOR)

ZUCCHINI LATKES

These are light, crispy and delicious. You can make these gluten-free by using potato starch or any gluten-free flour. These use a lot less oil for frying than traditional latkes, and they stay fresh in the fridge for about 3 days. I use a touch of maple syrup to give it a sweet taste, but you can omit that or use any sweetener of your choice.

Yields 16-20 latkes. 

  • 3-4 zucchini, unpeeled and shredded
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ cup flour (or gluten-free flour)
  • 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • ½ cup vegetable oil for frying

Using a hand grater, shred the zucchini on a towel, spread out the shreds over the towel and let sit for at least 10 minutes.

Carefully roll up the towel and squeeze out the water over the sink by twisting the towel a few times. Slowly unwrap the towel over a large bowl, allowing the shredded zucchini to fall into the bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

At first it seems that the mixture is a bit dry, but once you start mixing all the ingredients well, you’ll see that it becomes more liquefied. If you feel it’s too runny, add a tablespoon at a time of flour to thicken it up. This may need to be done between batches.

Heat the oil in a pan. You can slice in a small piece of carrot and place it in the pan to keep the oil from burning. (Yes, this trick works!)

Using a large spoon, drop the zucchini batter in the pan and fry for 2-3 minutes on each side.

Line a large bowl or pan with paper towels. When you remove the latkes from the frying pan, place them leaning up alongside the bowl so any excess oil drips down.

Serve with applesauce and a dash of cinnamon.

 Crispy baked tilapia (credit: HENNY SHOR) Crispy baked tilapia (credit: HENNY SHOR)

CRISPY BAKED TILAPIA

Crispy food is a big part of the Hanukkah fun, but frying isn’t always the fun part. This baked tilapia dish that my sister shared with me has the crispiness and flavor without the oil and fuss of frying.

Yields 6 servings.
  • 6 tilapia filets
  • 5 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 4 Tbsp. mustard 
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed (or garlic cubes)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Dash of pepper
  • 1-2 cups panko or cornflakes crumbs 

Preheat the oven to 200°C. 

In a bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper until the mixture is a creamy batter. Line a large baking pan with baking paper or lightly grease it with oil. Place the fillets in the pan, leaving space between them. Using a basting brush or large spoon, spread the batter evenly over the tilapia slices, then slowly pour the crumbs on top, covering the top of each filet. 

Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Use a flat spatula for serving.

 Donuts (credit: HENNY SHOR) Donuts (credit: HENNY SHOR)

DOUGHNUTS & MUNCHKINS

When you want to make doughnuts for the complicated eater, this gluten-free, yeast-free, vegan recipe is it. It also happens to be easy to make and really delicious. Plus, the product stays fresh for a few days, so it can be prepared ahead of time. 

Yields 2 dozen munchkins.

  • ¼ vegan butter, melted
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • 2 Tbsp. oil (plus extra for frying)
  • 2 cups gluten-free flour mix
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. of xanthan gum (omit if your gluten-free flour has it)

Glaze:

  • 1½ cups icing sugar
  • 1-2 Tbsp. warm water

Fill a deep-fry pan or pot halfway with oil and begin heating it up on the stove.

Put the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl and combine well. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and whisk in the milk and oil. Add that to your dry ingredients and mix till smooth. If it feels very runny, add in one tablespoon of flour at a time. Do not knead the dough.

 Munchkins (credit: HENNY SHOR) Munchkins (credit: HENNY SHOR)

Roll out the dough onto a floured surface to about ½ in. (1.3 cm.) in thickness. Make circles using a doughnut or cookie cutter and carefully drop them into the pot one at a time. Do not overcrowd the pan. Fry for three to four minutes. Remove using a large slotted spoon and place onto a plate lined with paper towels.

Prepare the glaze ingredients in a small bowl, and then drizzle the glaze onto the warm doughnuts. 

The writer is a kitchen coach, inspiring confidence and creativity in the kitchen. She runs online workshops, does private events for organizations and is available for one-on-one coaching. www.inthekitchenwithhenny.com