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Latkes - Do you drain the excess liquid?

I don't even know how to drain the liquid from the grated potatoes. I've tried wrapping the grated potatoes in a dish towel and squeezing, but I'm not convinced that really helps. And I end up with lots of dirty, smelly towels. Can you simply let the liquid drain out in a strainer? Should the extra onion liquid be drained, too? Also, I sort of remember that my Bubbie used to drain the liquid into another bowl, discard the liquid, and put the potato starch (which settled to the bottom of the bowl) back in with the grated potatoes.

What does everyone else do with their grated potatoes? And what kind of oil do you use for frying?

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  1. You absolutely drain the liquid. I take a large spoon and press through a colander. I use Canola oil for frying (try to keep it healthy!) lol. My baba use to use safflower oil. I pour off the potatoe starch that settles.

    You could also make a potatoe kugel with the grated potatoe latke mix if you want. Heat up a pyrex until piping. Pur some canola oil in on bottom and put back in ove, When sizzling, pour the latke batter in. It is awesome and much easier than frying all the latkes.

    1. I squeeze them hard with my hands, a big fistful at a time. Works great.

      1. I grate, then rinse to get rid of some starch. Then I do like missclaudy and squeeze a handful, then form a pancake. I prefer to fry in schmaltz. Yes, SCHMALTZ! :)

        2 Replies
        1. re: bruce

          I'm using duck schmaltz. Yes, DUCK schmaltz!!!! There's gonna be a whole lotta plotzing goin' on at my Chanukah party .I make lemon, vanilla and chipotle flavored applesauces for them.

          1. re: bruce

            Is the potato starch a good thing, or not?

          2. I parboil the potatoes before grating--eliminates the need for getting rid of liquid, prevents the batter from turning a most unappetizing shade of grey, and also prevents that slightly undercooked taste I recall in latkes of yore. Here's a link to the recipe I use: http://www.recipezaar.com/15257

            1 Reply
            1. re: Marion Morgenthal

              I'm curious enough about this twist on the standard technique to try it. Thanks.

            2. I made a neat 10" potato pancake the other night with just two large idahos. I grated the pots onto a couple of paper towels. When both pots were done I folded up the towels like a beggar's purse and squeezed. Lots of water out. Then I placed in a strainer and used a soup spoon to get the rest out.

              Worked great. When I placed in the pan with the oil, not splatters.

              To nswer OP question, ABSOLUTELY get rid of the liquid, or else you will get snap crackle and pop when you fry.

              1. I do exactly as your bubbie did. I have dedicated latke towels. I think I used corn oil last year.

                1. I have started to shred my potatoes in the food processer and I hand dice my onions. I get a lot less liquid and and they make great potato pancakes that way. I also make zucchini pankcakes doing it the same way-just substitute zucchini for potatoes (I also add a few shredded carrots) top ALL versions with sour cream or you can top the zucchini ones with marinara

                  1. I put the grated potatoes in a big strainer (not colander) and place a bowl filled with cans on top. Push down gently, and the potatoes will drain quickly. I don't drain the onion juice, as it helps prevent the potatoes from turning gray, and I like the flavor.

                    This method works very well for draining frozen spinach, too.