Potato latkes, also known as potato pancakes, are the basis of many traditional dishes in Europe, from East to West. Here in Germany, we eat them with salty company (e.g. salmon) or with a sweet side, such as apple sauce. They’re a standard meal to be found at a food booth at fairs and other public events as well as in restaurants adjacent to traditional beer breweries.
Here in the Rhineland, of which Cologne is a part of, Rievkoche (Cologne dialect for Reibekuchen) are *the* vegetarian dish available at many traditional restaurants – if you come on the right day of the week (e.g. Friday’s when catholics don’t eat meat). While you would think that potato latkes are destined to be gluten-free, don’t be fooled. I haven’t come upon a booth at a fair or Christmas market selling potato latkes that didn’t include wheat flour. The people who run the booths usually buy the batter in big buckets and then just fry them up, being unable to influence the recipe.
So, once again, I resort to cooking and eating in the comfort of my own home. Which is better, as I can bake my potato latkes in the oven instead of deep-frying them – so much better for my hips, my heart and any other thing I may want to eat, too! You do need a bit of elbow grease – or a willing kitchen helper such as Mephisto – before you can pull a baking tin full of them out of your oven, but given they are still kind of heavy even if you’re just baking them, burning off a few calories prior to dinner is not such a bad idea, eh?
Ingredients (for about 15 potato pancakes):
10 medium potatoes
2 medium onions
4 tbsp gluten-free flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp parsley
2 tbsp vegetable oil
50g grated cheese of your choice (e.g. gouda) – you can omit this
Peel the potatoes. Grate them however coarse or fine you want to – either using your hands and a vegetable grater or your kitchen machine. With the kitchen machine, this process takes about thirty seconds. It’s magic!I have grated these very thickly of pieces of about four centimeters length and one centimeter width (with one of the blades that came with Mephisto). You may have to leave them in the oven longer, if the potatoes are grated thicker, but I absolutely recommend doing them in a more rustic version, too!The finer you grate the potatoes, the quicker your potato latkes will be cooked – and the easier it is to form them into little nests.Cut the onions into fine slices and grind the cheese. Place the grated potatoes, the cheese and onion slices into a bowl, add the eggs, the gluten-free flour, the baking powder, the parsley, the salt and pepper and then the vegetable oil. Mix well, until no lumps of flour remain. You may have to add a bit more flour, depending on the consistency.
Turn on your oven to 220 °C.
Line a baking tin with baking parchment. Distribute the potato latke batter in even mounds on the baking parchment, leaving sufficient space between each pancake and the next.
If you are not sure, whether your potato latkes are done or you want them to be a bit dryer without burning, turning them over and letting them bake for another five minutes is also an option.Serve warm, e.g. accompanied by a small salad, a quark-based onion-soup dip (or with the traditional apple sauce) and a refreshing beverage.Happy eating!