Chefs’ Hanukkah Food (and Wine!) Recommendations

December, 12 2017

Potato latkes are divine, but eight days of them can get pretty dull. In the quest to find new and exciting Hanukkah dishes we asked four of our favorite chefs to share their recipes for some fabulous holiday fare, plus an accompanying wine.

Tracey Fine and Georgie Tarn, authors of  T
he Modern Jewish Table: 100 Kosher Recipes from around the Globe:

Creme Fraiche Holstein Vegetable Latkes and Chocolate Orange Churros. Both recipes are fabulous for Hanukah and in fact you can base a whole celebratory meal around these two delicious treats.  They are great for a get together whether for brunch, lunch or dinner.

As for wine pairing, we would go for a Californian Chardonnay—we absolutely love a Chardonnay and in particular Herzog 2011 Chardonnay Prince Vinyard, Clarksburg has subtle nuances of apple, vanilla and spice box and notes of dried apricot. It’s a perfect Winter blend to go with our delicious latkes.

As for a dessert wine to go with our Churros we have chosen—Yarden Galilee Touriga Nacional—Tinta Cao from Israel—not as sweet as Sauternes, more of a Port flavored wine, both grapes that make this wine are grown in the central and southern Golan Heights. This wine takes twenty six months of barrel ageing to fully develop.  It has great intensity and flavor. Sometimes you need to wait for something great.

Crème fraîche holstein vegetable latkes
Makes 25
Sunday brunch never tasted so great with vegetable latkes, you might continue to brunch all week.

2 lb potatoes (approximately 5 large potatoes), peeled and finely grated
1 large onion, grated
2 large eggs, whisked
1 leek, sliced and diced into small pieces
1 can (15.25 oz) sweet whole kernel corn, drained
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon garlic granules
¾ cup all-purpose flour, plus a handful for preparation
2 tablespoons crème fraîche
Black pepper
Oil, for frying
1 egg per person (optional)
Watercress, to decorate

1. Place potatoes in a colander together with the grated onion. Using your hands, squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Or place a large can on top of the ingredients and squash down to get the same effect. Leave to one side.

2. In a large bowl, place the potatoes, onion, eggs, leek, sweet corn, paprika, garlic, flour, crème fraîche, salt, and pepper. Mix all the ingredients with a metal spoon.

3. Sprinkle a large plate with a handful of all-purpose flour. Take a small dessert spoon of the mixture and shape latkes into a flat, round shape. Keep doing this with the rest of the mixture and place the latkes on the floured plate.

Chocolate orange churros
Makes 16
Churros is a Spanish alternative to Hanukkah doughnuts. It’s something fun for dessert or teatime, and even breakfast, for all our Spanish Princesses.

½ stick (2 oz) dairy-free margarine, melted
7 fl oz boiled water
3 heaped cups whole-wheat self-rising flour
1 large orange, zested
1/3 cup superfine sugar
2 medium eggs, lightly whisked
1¾ pints vegetable oil, for frying

For Dipping
1 cup superfine sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

1. Mix the margarine with boiled water.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the self-rising flour and orange zest. Add the sugar and eggs.

3. Beat the boiled water mixture into the flour. Beat vigorously until the dough is smooth. Leave the dough to rest for approximately 10 minutes.

4. Spoon the dough into a piping bag with a small star-shaped nozzle. Heat the oil in a deep-sided frying pan.

5.When the oil is hot, pipe strips of the dough into the oil to form churros. Use scissors to cut the end of the dough. Fry until golden brown, turning halfway through cooking. Remove with a slotted spoon and pat away excess oil with kitchen towels.

6. Mix the sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle the sugar-cinnamon mixture over the churros. Serve immediately with chocolate sauce.


Gil Hovav, author of Candies from Heaven: 

When it comes to Hanukkah and deep frying, the ultimate sin is falafel. Although it may be argued that any deep fried object—including kitchen towels and spectacles—is delicious, falafel is even better (and more disastrous to your diet.) And the best is Ta’amiyyah—the original Egyptian falafel, made from fava beans rather than chick peas.

Ta’amiyyah is way too rough to be paired with wine. The best alcohol to gulp down with this dish is Arak—the Middle Eastern anise flavored aperitif—be it Israeli Arak, French Pastis or Greek Ouzo. In Israeli markets, they serve bazooka gum flavored Arak: Simply soak 5 Bazookas in a bottle of Arak overnight—and you have it!


Ta’amiyyah (Egyptian falafel)


1 kg dry, peeled fava beans (not fresh) soaked in water for 24 hrs
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 green hot chili pepper
1 onion, peeled
1 bunch coriander
1 bunch parsley
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander seeds
2 tbsp salt
3 tbsp raw tahini
Oil for deep frying


1. Drain fava beans and discard of soaking water. Place together with all other ingredients in food processor and process until an even, crumbly texture, resembling the consistency of couscous. Do not over process!

2. Let the mixture be for 30 minutes to 1 hour (in summer, cool it down in the refrigerator, during winter you can leave it out on your worktop).

3. Form balls or discs and deep fry until crispy and well browned.


Paola Gavin author of Hazana: Jewish Vegetarian Cooking:

Pampushki—potato dumplings stuffed with curd cheese and chives—are perfect for Chanukah, and they go very well with a chilled glass of Prosecco.


Pampushki can be fried or boiled, sweet or savory. For sweet pampushki, simply omit the chives from the filling, add a tablespoon or two of sugar and the grated rind of a lemon, then serve lightly dusted with sugar. In Russia they generally fry pampushki in vegetable oil, but as I believe cooking with vegetable oils can be bad for your health, I prefer to use olive oil instead.

Serves 4


450g (1lb) potatoes, peeled
625g (2 1/2 cups) mashed potato
olive oil, for shallow-frying

For the filling
225g (8oz) curd (pot or farmer’s) cheese
1 egg yolk
1–2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
salt and freshly ground black pepper


To make the filling, place the curd cheese, egg yolk and chives in a bowl and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

Coarsely grate the potatoes, then squeeze out as much water as possible. Place in a bowl with the mashed potato, season with salt and pepper and mix well. Form the potato mixture into balls about the size of an egg. Punch a hole in the centre with your forefinger and fill with a teaspoonful of filling, then close up to seal the filling inside. Flatten slightly and shallow-fry until golden on both sides. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.


Bonus staff reccomendation

Nowadays gourmet gelt is all the rage, but growing up, the chocolate coins were famous for its waxy and chalky flavor. Instead of gelt, try Hanukkah chocolate bark. Use whatever type of chocolate you want and add dried fruit, nuts, pretzels even potato chips. This is also a great way to use up leftover gelt once the Festival of Lights comes to an end.

Red wine always goes well with chocolate and this blend from the Israeli brand Bravdo fits the bill. It is also one of the rare kosher blends that doesn’t include Merlot in its composition.

Basic Bark


Vegetable oil cooking spray
Bittersweet, milk, or white chocolate, chopped, according to variation Toppings, according to variation.


1. Coat a 9-by-12 1/2-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray, and line with parchment, leaving an overhang on ends.

2. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring. Pour into baking sheet, and spread in an even layer.

3. Immediately sprinkle toppings over chocolate. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Peel off parchment, and break bark into pieces.

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