As the lone Jew in our region, I take my responsibility to bring the Jewish holiday cheer very seriously. Somebody has to counter the Christmas carols with a L’chiam! I intended to host a get-together to observe Hanukkah – – Korean style. Following a discovery this weekend, I had just the thing to elevate our celebration.
This past Sunday was my birthday. My day was shared with a fellow redhead, so we decided to give our joint potluck party a “ginger” theme. For the occasion, my best friends came through by finding just the recipe – – Gingered Carrot Latkes. Latkes, fried pancakes traditionally made from potatoes, are key to any Hanukkah celebration. As if my personal existence was not a stellar enough example of the superb combo of ginger and Jews, I now have a tasty counterpart to rest my case!
With our taste buds taken care of, I next had to turn my attention to the menorah. A candelabrum of sorts, the menorah holds 8 candles representative of each night and one more prominent candle used to light the others, the shamash. Thanks to this country’s healthy soju habit, I found disposable shot glasses readily available. 8 shot glasses paired with a regular paper cup for the shamash suited the bill perfectly. Completed with birthday candles and Santa overseeing the whole ordeal, we had a prime example of inclusiveness. Hoards of discrimination lawyers would be proud. For the last piece of the puzzle, a few unsuspecting attendees were assigned the task of fashioning a dreidel out of a print-out template, cardboard and a pencil. A few paper cuts later, we had a little gambling in the mix and were good to go.
All and all, I’d say my work here is done. While I may not have won them over with sing-a-longs of “The Dreidel Song,” I am sure I secured an endearing place for ginger and Jews in everyone’s heart. Now, if only I could find a way to dodge the blame for fixing a broken record in everyone’s subconscious. Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I made it out of clay…
Gingered Carrot Latkes
Gourmet December 2004
Yield: Makes about 15
6 cups coarsely grated peeled carrots
6 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
7 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
3 large eggs, beaten to blend
Canola oil (for frying)
Place carrots in large bowl; press with paper towels to absorb any moisture. In another large bowl, whisk flour, salt, baking powder, and pepper to blend. Mix in carrots and ginger, then eggs.
Pour enough oil into heavy large skillet to cover bottom and heat over medium heat. Working in batches and adding more oil as needed, drop carrot mixture by 1/4 cupfuls into skillet and spread to 3 1/2-inch rounds. Fry until golden, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer latkes to rimmed baking sheet. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm in 350°F oven until crisp, about 10 minutes.)