The competition's sizzling at this annual latke fry-off

Each Hanukkah season, Or Haneshamah pits latke lovers against each other in a latke fry-off to find the best potato pancake in the congregation.

We have last year's winning recipe from Or Haneshamah

Jerry Ritt and Hershel Kagan were the winners of the 2017 latke competition at Ottawa's Or Haneshamah. (Andrew Foote/CBC)

The hiss of a latke sizzling as it's lowered into hot oil is one of the classic sounds of the Hanukkah season.

And for members of Ottawa's Or Haneshamah, it's also the sound of competition heating up.

Each year, the community pits latke lovers against each other in a fry-off to find the congregation's best potato pancake.

Jerry Ritt and Hershel Kagan are the reigning champions, and today, they shared their prize-winning recipe on CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning

We speak with two people who go all-out with their latkes at this time of year. They are last year's reigning champions and they are prepared to defend their title. 7:04

Or Haneshamah's best latkes of 2017


"The challenge with potato latkes is to get them light, yet stick together. We use a mix which in itself is balanced to produce a well integrated, salty, oniony latke — but using it alone, the texture will be too homogenous and heavy. Adding shredded red skin potatoes (which are lower starch) makes them crisp and balances the starch, resulting in a thin, light, crisp latke."


  • about six smallish red-skin potatoes, peel on,
  • 1 package of Manischewitz Potato Pancake Mix,
  • 2 eggs,
  • 525 ml of water,
  • canola oil.


1. Wash and dry the potatoes. Grate them in a processor with the skin on. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, beat eggs with a fork until blended. 
3. Add water.
4. Stir in pancake mix.
5. Allow to thicken for 3-4 minutes. 
6. Add grated potatoes. Stir until well blended. 
7. Heat canola oil in pan, about ½ cm thickness worth, on medium-high. 
8. Add a heaping tablespoonful of your latke mix to the pan of hot oil and flatten the batter into pan. 
9. Fry on medium-high for 3-4 minutes, then flip.   
10. Fry the other side for 3-4 minutes.  You want them small, crisp and thin, about the size of a small palm.
11. Set aside on a plate lined with paper towels. 
12. If not serving within a few hours, freeze them flat on a single layer. Once frozen, keep in a Ziploc bag in freezer.
13. To serve, place frozen latkes in oven and heat on a cookie sheet for 3 minutes at 450 degrees.

Serve them traditionally with sour cream or apple sauce.

Or at your Hanukkah party, serve them like canapés with your favourite toppings.

Some combinations we've enjoyed are: 

  • Gorgonzola, brandied figs & maple pear sauce,
  • Poached eggs, smoked salmon & hollandaise,
  • Tahini, red pepper jelly & mint,
  • Smoked salmon, wasabi cream cheese & pickled ginger,
  • Roasted red pepper relish & baby arugula,
  • Ricotta, orange marmalade, sea salt & poppy seeds,
  • Greek yogurt, toasted walnut, chèvre & pomegranate seed.