BY WHITNEY FISCH
(The Nosher via JTA) – Living in Los Angeles is like a foodie Wonderland. On almost every corner in almost every neighborhood, there is something delicious to eat.
And the foodies here in L.A. do a lot of things right, but by far the top three are tacos, sushi and ramen. In fact, ramen is so good here it inspired me recently to make my own. Being the typical Jewish mother that I am I made far too many noodles. The next morning it occurred to me, “why not fry some leftover ramen noodles, slap some Sriracha mayo on top and have ourselves a nice ramen-inspired latke?!”
I think one of the most fun things about this latke creation is the world of toppings you can choose. If you can master the soft-boiled egg, that might be nice on top of your latke with some fresh, peppery radishes and cilantro. You can also add sauteed shiitake mushrooms, sliced jalapeno or a combination of flavors, just like your favorite ramen.
Think of this ramen latke as a beautifully fried blank canvas. Once you have it mastered, your flavor world is wide open. Go explore.
Ramen Latkes with Sriracha Mayonnaise
Ingredients for the latkes:
2 to 3 packs instant ramennoodles, cooked and drained
1 tablespoon garlic powder
Canola oil for frying
1/2 cup soy sauce
For the sriracha mayo:
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons Sriracha
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Green onions, sliced
Cook the ramen noodles as directed on the back of the package, making sure to omit any flavor packets they came with. Drain and place in a bowl. Cover and cool for roughly 1 to 2 hours minimum.
Once cool, mix noodles with 1 egg and the garlic powder.
Divide the noodles either in large muffin tins or ramekins, if you have them. Or you can do what I did and divide them up among a variety of small bowls and glasses. You do NOT want to make these more than 1 inch of thickness, so if using something other than muffin tins or ramekins, be careful of how many noodles you stack in there.
Place divided noodles in the refrigerator uncovered. Let cool for a minimum of 2 hours and a maximum of 10.
Once your refrigeration period is done, heat 5 tablespoons of canola oil in a small frying pan (I do recommend frying these one at a time). Test the oil to make sure it’s hot by splashing a small drop of water into the oil. If the water sizzles, you’re ready.
Drop one ramekin of noodles into the hot oil and reshape into latke shape. Let fry for 2 to 3 minutes and then flip. Add 1 teaspoon of soy sauce to latke after the first flip. Cook on the other side for another 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat until nice and brown for a total of 6 to 8 minutes each.
Remove latke from pan and let dry on a plate lined with paper towel.
To make the Sriracha mayo: Combine Sriracha and mayo in a bowl. Taste as you stir, adding more according to your preference. Serve a dollop on top of each latke and sprinkle with sliced green onions.
Note: These can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. If needing to stack the latkes in order to refrigerate, make sure you place wax or parchment paper between latkes so they do not stick together. Reheat in the oven at 400 degrees for 5 to 8 minutes maximum.
WHITNEY FISCH received a master’s degree in social work from the University of Michigan and is currently working as a middle school counselor. She is a personal chef and blogs about all things food and life on her blog, jewhungrytheblog.com
By Samantha Ferraro
(The Nosher via JTA) – Growing up, my mom always made the best latkes. And while I know everyone probably says this about their mom, I maintain her latkes really were the best.
She would stand over the sink shredding and shredding potatoes until night’s end. Then she would insist on squeezing as much water out of the vegetables as possible. When she thought they were dry, she would squeeze some more. A labor of love, for sure.
Though I get inspired from my mother’s method, I have updated my own latke recipes and techniques with some modern twists. Instead of standing over the sink shredding potatoes till sunlight, my hefty powerhouse food processor does all the work for me. My mom was shocked when I told her I no longer grate them by hand, and I still hear stories of her battle wounds to prove her latke love.
One of the most important tricks for successful latke frying is prepping. Frying latkes is a messy job. You don’t want to walk away from hot oil, but instead be in control of it.
I like to have a cookie sheet ready with a cooling rack and then two layers of paper towels. That way I can transfer the latkes directly from the pan to the cooling rack after they come out of the hot oil.
And no overcrowding the pan – there should be no more than three or four latkes in the pan at one time. This ensures the temperature remains even and cooks crispy latkes.
For a fun modern twist, these Indian-spiced cauliflower latkes are a spinoff of one of my favorite Indian dishes, Aloo Gobi. Potatoes and cauliflower are braised with spicy flavors of jalapeno, turmeric and curry. The sauce is a bright cilantro and mint chutney, also easily made in the food processor, and pairs perfectly with the crispy spiced latke.
Indian-Spiced Cauliflower Latkes with Cilantro Chutney
Ingredients for the latkes:
2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters (if using a food processor)
1/4 large white onion
2 cups cauliflower florets, hard stems removed
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
3 tablespoons matzah meal
2 green onions, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
For the cilantro and mint chutney:
1 bunch cilantro, large stems removed (about 1 1/2-2 cups, loosely packed)
1 small bunch fresh mint, stems removed (about 1 cup, loosely packed)
2 tablespoons yogurt (for non-dairy, you can use full fat coconut milk)
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 jalapeno, roughly chopped (seeds removed if you prefer less heat)
1/2 inch ginger root, peeled and grated
1 garlic clove
Salt and pepper, to taste
Canola or vegetable oil for frying
To make the latkes: add the cauliflower florets in a food processor and pulse until they are fine and even pieces, then transfer to a large bowl. Add the small shred blade attachment to your food processor and shred the potatoes and onion, but do NOT add to the bowl yet
Place the onions and potatoes in a clean dish towel and wrap around potatoes, only a handful at a time. Then use your mighty strength and squeeze out as much moisture as you can. Then squeeze a little more. Once they are dry, add them to the cauliflower bowl. Repeat until all potatoes and onions are dry.
Then add the rest of the spices, eggs, matzah meal and green onion. Mix everything together until well incorporated.
Heat a large skillet with about 1/2 inch of oil to about 350 degrees. I like to test the oil with a small piece of potato. If it sizzles, it’s ready.
Use 2 tablespoons to form latke and place in hot oil. Then use the back of the spoon to gently flatten it out.
Fry latkes for about 3-4 minutes until golden brown; turn over and finish frying for another 3 minutes.
Remove latkes with a slotted spatula onto a paper towel-lined baking sheet and season with a sprinkle of salt if you’d like.
To make the chutney:
Add all the chutney ingredients to a food processor and pulse until incorporated. Scrape it down after every few pulses. Pulse until desired consistency and until there are no large leaves left.
Serve latkes with chutney and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.
SAMANTHA FERRARO is the food blogger and photographer for The Little Ferraro Kitchen. The Nosher food blog offers a dazzling array of new and classic Jewish recipes and food news, from Europe to Yemen, from challah to shakshuka and beyond. Check it out at TheNosher.com.