Zulubia: Persian Fritters in Sugar Syrup (Photo/Faith Kramer)
Zulubia: Persian Fritters in Sugar Syrup (Photo/Faith Kramer)

Oil vey: More fried treats to try this Hanukkah

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A holiday that lasts for eight nights provides plenty of opportunities to experiment with new recipes, including these two — both of which celebrate Hanukkah’s signature moment: the miracle of the oil.

The latke recipe comes from PJ Library, which provides free, Jewish-themed books to families with young children, and also has some recipes folded into its website. Made with zucchini and cauliflower in addition to the “standard” ingredients, these latkes are a lighter-tasting alternative to the traditional Hanukkah potato pancake.

The second recipe, Zulubia, is a piped fritter in a sugary syrup. I’ve adapted it from Angela Cohan’s newly published Persian-Jewish cookbook “Persian Delicacies: Jewish Foods for Special Occasions,” which features family and original recipes steeped in the heritage of Jews from Iran.

Both recipes are adapted for space and style, and to reflect my experience making them.

Hidden Vegetable Latkes

Serves about 6 to 8

  • 1 large potato (12 oz.), peeled
  • 1 large zucchini (10 oz.), peeled
  • ½ head cauliflower (8 oz.)
  • ½ large onion (4 oz.)
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil

Grate or shred (by hand or in a food processor) potato, zucchini, cauliflower and onion. Wrap in kitchen towel. Wring out moisture. Mix vegetables in a large bowl with garlic, flour, baking powder, eggs, salt and black pepper.

Line a platter with paper towels. In a large frying pan, heat ½ inch oil on medium-high. Oil is ready to fry when a potato shred dropped in oil is surrounded by bubbles immediately. Drop heaping tablespoons of batter into pan. Flatten slightly with spatula. Repeat, but do not crowd the pan. Fry until bottoms are browned (about 2 minutes), then flip over and fry other sides until brown (about 2 minutes). Adjust heat to keep oil sizzling, or to avoid burning. Drain cooked latkes on the toweled platter. Repeat in batches, adding more oil as needed. (Bring oil back to temperature before frying.) Serve warm.

Hidden Vegetable Latkes (Photo/Faith Kramer)
Hidden Vegetable Latkes (Photo/Faith Kramer)

Zulubia: Persian Fritters in Sugar Syrup

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1⅛ tsp. active dry yeast (½ packet)
  • 1¼ cups warm water, divided
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¾ cup cornstarch
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 qts. vegetable oil
  • Sugar syrup (see below)

At least 6 hours, or up to 24 hours, before frying, combine yeast with ¼ cup warm water. Stir. Let sit 10 minutes until foamy.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cornstarch and salt. Stir in the yeast mixture and ½ cup water. Slowly stir in the remaining water until the batter is smooth.

Cover bowl. Refrigerate until doubled in bulk (at least 6 hours, but batter can be held up to 24 hours). Place ¼-inch pastry tip into a large pastry bag. Transfer the dough into pastry bag. Let stand 15 minutes.

Heat all of the oil on medium-high in a wide and deep pot until a drop of batter is surrounded by small bubbles on contact. Pipe the dough into the hot oil in 3-to 4-inch coils. Do not crowd pot. Adjust heat to keep oil sizzling and fritters from burning. Fry about 2 to 3 minutes per side, turning when one side is golden. Drain on a platter lined with paper towels. Drop warm fritters in the sugar syrup. Quickly turn to coat. Place fritters on a rimmed serving dish.

Repeat with remaining batter, allowing oil to return to temperature between batches. Pour remaining sugar syrup over fritters (this step is traditional, but I liked the fritters without it, as well). Serve at room temperature.

Sugar syrup: In a small saucepan, combine ½ cup fresh lemon juice, 1½ cups water, and 1 cup sugar. Simmer on low heat until the sugar has dissolved, about 25 minutes.

Notes: Piping coils takes practice, but whatever shapes and squiggles you end up with will taste delicious. (If desired, use a wider pastry tip and pipe short strips instead.)

Faith Kramer
Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer and the author of “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen.” Her website is faithkramer.com. Contact her at [email protected].