For a holiday that lasts eight nights, there really isn't all that much variation in traditional Hanukkah fare. Latkes and jelly doughnuts are great and all but after the second or third night, we're looking for a little something different. Luckily, the latke is a recipe that lends itself to all sorts of improvisation, just take a look at these Middle-Eastern Zucchini Cakes with Tahini Sauce from Kosher Revolution.
These are a lighter take on the latke, with crisp but not too starchy cakes of shredded zucchini and all sorts of great and very Hanukkah appropriate Middle Eastern flavors. The lacy zucchini cakes get a good hit of earthy cumin while the dipping sauce is a rich and creamy blend of tahini, lemon juice, cilantro, and garlic all whizzed together in the blender until thick as sour cream.
- Yield:makes 25 to 30 cakes
- Active time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Total time:1 hour 50 minutes
- 2 pounds zucchini, trimmed
- Kosher salt
- 3 small shallots, minced
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup canola oil, for frying
- For the Tahini Sauce:
- 1/2 cup tahini, well stirred
- 2 tablespoons orange juice or 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or flat-leaf parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Place a colander in the sink. Using a food processor or hand grater, shred the zucchini and transfer it to the colander (or grate directly into it). Sprinkle the zucchini generously with the salt. Allow the zucchini to exude liquid, about 20 minutes, rinse under cool running water, then squeeze with your hands or in a kitchen towel to remove as much remaining liquid as you can.
Transfer the zucchini to a large bowl and add the shallots, garlic and cumin. Taste and season with salt, if necessary. Mix well and stir in the olive oil, baking powder, flour and egg.
Flour your hands lightly and form the mixture into 24 rounds about 2 inches in diameter. Flatten the rounds and place on a plate. (The zucchini can be made ahead and refrigerated, for 2 to 3 hours.)
To make the tahini sauce, combine all the ingredients plus 1/4 to 1/3 cup water in a medium bowl or immersion blender container and blend with an immersion blender until the consistency reaches a thick cream. Alternatively, use a regular blender. If the mixture seems too thick, add more water by the tablespoon, blending after each addition. Adjust the seasoning and chill, if desired.
In a large skillet, heat the canola oil over medium heat until a bit of the zucchini mixture immediately sizzles when added. Add the zucchini cakes and sauté until golden on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Turn, press to flatten and sauté about 1 minute more. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the cakes are done through, 5 to 8 minutes, turning once. Meanwhile, place paper towels on a wire rack. When the cakes are done, transfer them to the rack and blot the tops with additional paper towels. Serve hot with the sauce on the side.