Carrot Latkes with Fried Eggplant and Harissa Tahini Drizzle

Let’s carry on with all the frying going on these days. We did doughnuts and now it’s time for latkes! Those crispy, potato laced rounds so ubiquitous on every Chanukah table-- it would be blasphemous not to make a batch. Everyone has their own opinions and preference on what constitutes a perfect latke but I will be honest and maybe you’ll think me unsophisticated but I don’t think much can go wrong with fried potatoes. Other than maybe too much oil. That’s very wrong. Otherwise, putting together a batch and minding it while it’s sizzling in the skillet is all it takes.

I will add though that I am decided on what we love best. My latke needs to be incredibly crispy, a sort of hash brown meets patty situation. Those stringy potato shreds poking out of the belly like little rays of sun whose edges are borderline charred are what we pine for. The crunch and flavor mingling are what propels me to stand over the stove dropping and flipping. The cooking method isn’t my favorite, it’s actually my most despised. I seldom fry because it’s unhealthy but it’s also time consuming and imparts the house with a smell that’s, um, malodorous I would say. And let’s not talk about the thin layer of grease masking my face. All in the name of tradition.

If you’re already at the stove I would suggest doubling (or more) your batch and following the freezing instructions. They’re stellar. You can have a latke from the freezer and it will taste as if you just fried it. Trust me.

As for the flavor. Some are potato purists but I like mixing in another vegetable. I’ve done zucchini. There’s also a sweet potato version. But this carrot one is new to the rotation. Those carrot shreds add a punch of color, an important consideration, and a bright, sweet undertone. Then there’s the earthy, slightly bitter fried eggplant (we’re serious about frying over here), and everything gets drizzled in an harissa tahini for that well rounded punch of flavor. They taste as good as they sound, which isn’t true of many things.

Carrot Latkes with Fried Eggplant and Harissa Tahini Drizzle


6 medium potatoes, peeled and grated

6 medium carrots, peeled and grated

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 ½ teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

2 eggs, beaten

¼ cup matzah meal or flour

1 small eggplant, sliced into ¼ inch rounds*


Place the grated potatoes and carrots in large kitchen towel. Twist and squeeze as much liquid out of the potato mixture as you can into a bowl. Set aside and reserve the liquid. Transfer the grated vegetables to a large bowl and add the garlic, ground coriander, salt, pepper, eggs and matzah meal. Carefully pour the reserved liquid out, leaving the natural starch at the bottom. Scrape the starch into the vegetable mixture. Using your hands, mix well until the vegetables are evenly coated. Set aside as you work on the eggplant.

Heat a deep skillet over medium high and add about 1 inch of oil to the pan. Be sure to add a piece of carrot. It acts as a magnet, attracting all the brown, burnt bits, leaving your oil clean as you fry. Start by frying the eggplant, adding 2-3 rounds at a time depending on the size of your pan. Fry until browned, flip and cook the other side. Transfer to a paper-lined plate and allow to cool.

For the latkes, scoop ¼ cup full of vegetable and drop into the hot oil. Flatten with a spatula and let cook until browned, about 3-4 minutes. Flip and fry on the other side for 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a paper lined tray and continue with the rest of the batch.

for the harissa tahini,

2 cloves of garlic

¼ bunch cilantro

½ cup tahini (sesame paste)

1 teaspoon harissa

¾ cup water

In a small chopper, blend all the ingredients until smooth. Add more water if the sauce is too thick.

To serve, place the latkes on a platter, top with eggplant and drizzle with the harissa tahini. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

*Note: If you’re using a larger eggplant, they are sometimes bitter so you should salt them first. Place eggplant slices in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Allow to sit for 20-30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry before frying.

Freezing instructions: Don't drain the excess oil after frying. Freeze them double wrapped in a plastic bag. To reheat, bake them in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes and then drain the excess oil on a paper towel. If you're reheating from the fridge, reheat them in a 400 degree oven for 5-7 minutes and drain on a paper towel. They'll be just as perfect as if they're freshly made, which is immensely helpful when cooking for a crowd.