Happy Deep Fried Hannukah

by Sarah on November 28, 2010

sufganiyot, donuts for hannukah

Sufganiyot from Roladin Bakery

Hannukah is by far my favorite Jewish holiday because it is all fun without the formalities.

 There are no five course meals to prepare, telephones calls wishing third cousins on the husband’s side happy holidays, no extensive present buying or crazy month long cleaning sessions.  This is a time for casual friend and family gatherings for tasty treats and candle lighting.

 For those with little children it is also filled with Hanukkah parties where kindergarteners sing ancient history in their off tune little voices.  

The songs are about the ancient Greek Seleucids who stormed into Jerusalem (with the Macabees in hot pursuit), desecrating the temple and shattering all the oil filled pots. Only one lamp survived to feed the eternal flame with barely enough oil to last a single day (enter the beloved “little pot” song)”.  As legend has us believe, this bit of oil burnt for eight days, enough time to make more consecrated oil to rededicate the temple.

donuts for hunnukah, sufganiyot

After the mandatory candle lighting, this miracle is also commemorated by eating large amounts of deep fried foods in any shape or form.   The calorie count of this holiday exceeds all others put together but out of respect for tradition, Jews around the world are exempt from dieting for the entire eight days. I am not sure if this is a rabbinical ordinance but it should be.

Two of the most popular foods are jam filled sufganiyot (donuts) and potato pancakes (also known as latkes or levivot) but creative chefs and home cooks have introduced their own fun deep fried concoctions.

From the end of October sufganiyot have been trickling out of bakeries , turning into an outright flood the first of the eight days. The bakeries compete with each other to make the most unique filled donuts and I couldn’t help but sample a few walking the streets of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Rehovot.

Here are a few recipes great for  Hannukah

Carrot Fritters     Zucchini Fritters  Cauliflower Fritters    Leek Fritters

leek patties

Sweet Potato and Leek Patties

The Jews of Turkey introduced the leek patties to Israel. They are usually made with either potatoes or ground meat to bind the mixture together. Here I used sweet potatoes for a twist of the traditional recipe.

4-5 leaks (after cooking it makes about two cups), white part only

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into large chunks

Flour for dredging

Salt and pepper

Lemon slices for garnish

Vegetable oil

Cut the leaks into large chucks, white part only. Put in a small pot and cover with water. Cook until the leeks are soft when poked with a fork. Drain completely. Let cool and squeeze extra moisture between two hands or by pressing into a sieve.

Bake or boil the sweet potato chunks until soft.

Combine the sweet potatoes with the leeks, add salt and pepper.  Form flat patties about 1 cm thick, dredge in flour ( this helps absorb extra  moisture) and fry in shallow oil until brown on both sides, flipping once. Serve with lemon wedges.

leek patties

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Yael November 28, 2010 at 1:53 pm

Hanukkah is by far my favourite holiday as well, it also has the best songs (in my opinion). Deep fried food is such a pleasure too bad I already plan the crush diet I’m gonna take day after the holiday ends :)


Robin from Israel November 28, 2010 at 2:12 pm

I will not run out to Roladdin right this minute. I will not run out to Roladdin right this minute. I will not run out to Roladdin right this minute. I will not run out to Roladdin right this minute. I will not run out to Roladdin right this minute. I will not run out to Roladdin right this minute…

I will on the other hand make those fritters very soon – yum! (and since they’ve got leeks in them they’re even a vegetable, and thus healthy. Why yes, the weather on my planet is lovely, why do you ask?)

My photography is available for purchase – visit Around the Island Photography and bring home something beautiful today!


lindentea November 28, 2010 at 4:35 pm

I love leek fritters, my mother’s side of the family uses regular potaotes while my dad’s side of the family uses ground meat. I love the addition of sweet potato, what a great idea.


Rivki Locker (Ordinary Blogger) November 28, 2010 at 6:29 pm

I love Chanukah too! Like you, I love that it’s low pressure but still filled with wonderful traditions (and foods). What wonderful photos! I’m getting in the mood! Can’t wait for those latkes!


Sarah November 29, 2010 at 12:43 am

Yael, Can’t wait to try your version of deep fried tasty fritters!
Robin, The Roladin donuts I like but they are too sweet, although so pretty.
Lindentea, I like the ground meat version the best, but the sweet potato kind is also quite good and vegetarian.
Rivki, Low pressure, exactly why Hannukah is such a great holiday. The only problem around here is that most parents work but the kids are off from school


Natalie November 29, 2010 at 6:55 am

Your pics are absolutely stunning. Major like! and of course – happy hannukah! :)


Cristina November 29, 2010 at 1:39 pm

These Sweet Potato and Leek Patties look absolutely delicious and perfectly caramalized color. I can only imagine its delicate texture and flavor. :)


Sarah December 1, 2010 at 11:38 am

thanks Cristina, although the color of the fritters also come from the orange sweet potatoes ;-), keeps them very pretty that way


turkey's for life November 29, 2010 at 10:53 pm

Hannukah is starting to sound like good fun. No dieting for 8 days?? Deep-fried veggies? Sounds like my type of festival. Have a relaxing time with your family! :)


sminut13 November 30, 2010 at 10:01 pm

being from another part of the world, it’s the first time i’ve heard of the festival but it sounds really interesting. and the recipes look really yummy. only downer is, i’m not a good cook no matter what and i’m really picky as well. if others will make it and share it with me, i’d definitely try it though. they all look delicious.


Jamie December 1, 2010 at 11:46 am

Happy Happy Hanukkah! I have seen your vegetable latkes and I should make some this week. But it is all the donuts I want. MMMM.


Sarah December 1, 2010 at 10:36 pm

Liz and Jamie, I didn’t attempt to make my own donuts but tried churros- Mexican style fritters that are snake shaped and coated with sugar and cinnamon-mmmm


Liz December 1, 2010 at 4:04 pm

Ha, am I the only one trying not to eat any donuts this Hanukkah? They look lovely and smell lovely, but I always feel sick after I’ve succumbed to temptation.


Zahavah December 5, 2010 at 7:26 pm

Chag sameach, Sarah! I wish we could get real sufganiot here in the US…One night we had Entenmann’s, but that’s not nearly as good the real thing.


Sarah December 5, 2010 at 10:53 pm

Happy Hannukah! I love sufganiot, but I think I ate too much…;-)


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