Enjoying fried latkes without a side of guilt

Associated Press Published: November 19, 2012
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Traditional potato latkes are a widely loved staple of the yearly Hanukkah feast. And what's not to love about hamburger-sized hash browns topped with sour cream?

Still, wonderful as they are, latkes are not light. So as a latke-loving shiksa, I devised this recipe in the hope that all of us might enjoy our latkes and live to tell about it. My re-design employs both sweet potatoes and the more traditional white potatoes, significantly reducing the amount of oil required to cook these bad boys. I also substitute Greek yogurt for sour cream.

Sweet potatoes, especially the intensely orange ones, are a terrific source of beta carotene. They also are an excellent source of potassium, vitamin C and fiber. And despite their sweetness, sweet potatoes are not high in calories. But because they're also not very high in starch, they need a starch partner. Hence the white potatoes, along with a little egg, and some flour as a binder.

The ideal latke has a crisp crust with a moist interior. Traditionally, that crispness is achieved by frying in a lot of oil. Figuring out how to crisp up these latkes without a ton of oil was the hardest part of developing this recipe. After much trial and error, I realized I could develop a satisfactory crust if I added a little oil to the skillet for each side of the pancakes, 1 tablespoon for the first side and 1 tablespoon after I flipped them.

I then finish them off in a 350 F oven because the recipe's sweet potatoes, with their high sugar content, turn the latkes too dark if left on the stove for more than a few minutes.

What gives this recipe its Southwestern flavor? The combination of sweet potato and the chipotle in the yogurt topping. Sugar and chilies do a happy dance, balancing each other off. Adding sugar to a dish that's too spicy doesn't make it taste sweet, any more than adding chili to a dish that's too sweet makes it taste hot. Rather, you can depend on these complementary flavors to make the dish just right. However, if you are not a fan of chilies, leave out the chipotle. Likewise, If you're not a fan of cilantro, substitute dill, parsley or chives.

And Hanukkah aside, these Southwestern latkes would be a great little side dish any time of the year.

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SOUTHWESTERN LATKES WITH CHIPOTLE YOGURT

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