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The Unexpected Trick That Makes the Crispiest, Tastiest Latkes Ever - Tips from The Kitchn

The Unexpected Trick That Makes the Crispiest, Tastiest Latkes Ever - Tips from The Kitchn
From The Kitchn - December 5, 2017

This holiday season we set out to make the best latkes recipe ever. We started in earnest by testing five of the most popular latkes recipes and using their best attributes to make a truly fail-proof lesson on this classic fried potato dish. Every variable was tested, from hand-grating versus food processing to new combinations of frying oil (spoiler: schmaltz wins). But for all that testing, one surprising takeaway remained: What do you do with the liquid squeezed out of your potatoes?

Latke recipes vary widely in the procedures and ingredients list, but there are some marked similarities. Most call for high-starch potatoes like Russets or Yukon Golds. The good ones call for onions, a little binder, and salt. Almost all of them call for shredding the potatoes, although I have seen the rogue meat-grinder-minced latke recipe. There's a great debate about whether the potatoes must be grated by hand or if the aide of a food processor can ease the burden of multiple latke batches. A few methods call for soaking the potatoes in ice water after grating. Lots more call for wringing the moisture out of the potatoes by squeezing them in a clean kitchen towel.

Here's what sets the good recipes apart from the incredible ones: The liquid leftover after draining the potatoes, whether you soak them first or not, should never be discarded.

Potato Starch Makes the Crispiest, Tastiest Latkes Ever

At the bottom of the discard bowl is the secret ingredient to better latkes: potato starch. Posing as a white film in the bottom of the bowl of soaking water or in the cup of wrung-out water is the starch that has been forced out of the potatoes from shredding and then squeezing them.

How to Add Potato Starch to Your Latkes

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