This time of year we enjoy leafing through food magazines in search of ideas for holiday dishes. We don’t need to look any further, however, when it comes to Hanukkah latkes. The famed food writer Paula Wolfert has us covered, thanks to her spicy Moroccan potato pancakes.These popular pancakes, called maquoudas, are infused with ground cumin, along with a pinch of cayenne and ground turmeric. The pancakes, which accompany different dishes in in Morocco, also feature parsley and cilantro. (Click here to see the recipe.)
Paula, who’s a culinary anthropologist, notes the flavor of the potato is important. “I’m partial to Red Bliss potatoes, but any smooth one such as Yukon Gold will do,” she says. The recipe comes from Paula’s new book, The Food of Morocco (Ecco, 2011)
The potatoes are first steamed for 30 minutes. Once cool, they’re peeled and crushed with a fork.
Garlic, cumin and salt, meanwhile, are mashed into a paste. The cilantro, parsley and other spices are added and the mixture is pureed. The spice mixture is then blended into the mashed potatoes.
The potatoes are shaped into 3-inch rounds, which are dipped in a whipped egg, and then flour, before being fried in extra virgin olive oil until golden brown.
“Though most recipes call for vegetable oil, you’ll get a better result using olive oil,” Paula says. (You can read an interview with Paula Wolfert in our November In Season eNewsletter.)
During the winter, Moroccans often use the potato pancakes to accompany thick soups. In summer, they’re likely to be served with skewers of grilled lamb.
“They’re also cooked and sold on the street in the form of a sandwich, packed between two thin slices of Moroccan bread and smeared with harissa or tomato sauce thinned with water and oil,” Paula says.
In our case, we think they’ll make a perfect accompaniment to our Hanukkah brisket.
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