For the longest time (okay, the past 15 years), I have made the family’s favorite cilantro-ginger-chili latkes – a Diva original – for Hanukkah and also come up with a new one each year.

This year, I take inspiration from the Chinese.

(Photo-viewing tip: To see close-ups, click on the pic, and scroll right or left with arrows)

These grated spuds are flecked with leek and spring onion, which have been sauteed before being added to the batter (for less pungeance), which has then been flavored with Chinese five spices.

Were you wondering, what are spring onions vs scallions vs green onions? Basically, they’re one and the same. Indeed, the three green subjects mentioned in this post – scallions, leek, chives – are all members of the onion family. We tend, however, to nosh on their stems rather than their bulbous bits.

In case you run into trouble with the batter, click here for my tips on saving the day.

Click here for apple fritters and an alternative cilantro-ginger latke, and here for Hanukkah donuts.

Finally, I won’t leave you in the lurch with oil splattered all over your stove. Here’s how you can get your stainless steel appliance all glamorous once again!

Here’s what you need to make about 8 latkes:

  • Potato, one extremely large baking spud, to grate at last minute
  • Chinese or regular leeks, 2 stalks, use white part only
  • Spring onions or scallions
  • Chinese five spice powder, 1/2 tsp
  • Salt, 1 to 1 1/2 tsp
  • Corn flour, 2 tbsp
  • Egg, 1, beaten
  1. Slice the leeks and spring onions very thinly
  2. Saute them in a pan with 1 tbsp of olive oil for 2-3 minutes
  3. Add the five spices, continue to saute
  4. When fragrant and leeks and onions have begun to break down, take them off the heat and place in cool mixing bowl
  5. Into this bowl, grate the skinned potato
  6. Add egg, salt, cornflour
  7. Mix everything with a fork till well combined
  8. Heat a skillet with some olive oil (or other high-heat-tolerant veg oil)
  9. Use two spoons to squeeze moisture out of the spud mixture, and gently drop them, in patty form, into the oil
  10. Cook for 2-3 mins a side, making sure each is golden brown (and not coffee-bean brown – oil could be too hot)
  11. Remove from skillet and leave on kitchen paper to allow excess oil to be soaked up
  12. Plate and serve. Preferably with Greek yoghurt, seasoned with chopped chives and ginger. Sour cream does the trick, too.

Happy Hanukkah!