As I’m sniffling and sneezing on the couch, feeling the pain in my body and the close approach of death, I’m thinking of how much I hate winter. It’s been a stressful week, with clogged sinks, dysfunctional washing machine, populst parties and when the boiler broke down last night, my body just gave up. What I’m really yearning for right now is a baked potato with a drizzle of olive oil and some Maldon salt. That’s how my mom used to make it and I desperately need some soft, creamy, warm carb topped with fat and salt right now. I was looking through some old photos and found this – potato latkes, which actually would be equally satisfying as well. If I had the energy to stand up and do all the prep required for these potato latkes to realize, I would.
If my mother was with me right now she’d make me congee. To some foreigners the prospect of overcooked watery rice is, well, understandably offputting, especially the way I like it which is with fermented tofu. We’re from Northern China, and we don’t have those sophisticated congees with vegetables and meats, we eat it with pickles and fermented tofu. Mmmm, total umami bomb.
But for something a bit more familiar and suited to the general public, I present to you some simple latkes.
1kg starchy potaotes (like russet)
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
Peel and coarsely grate the potatoes. Squeeze out all excess water with your hands. Mix with the salt (season generously), flour and caraway seeds. Then mix in the egg.
Pour enough oil in a pan to come up to 5mm. Over medium heat, spoon a tester into the pan to test for seasoning. Then spoon mixtures into the pan, without overcrowding, and flatten each spoonful with a spatula. Fry until golden brown on both sides, around 8 minutes on each side.