Chinese-Irish Baked Latkes

Chinese-Irish Baked Latkes
Chinese-Irish Baked Latkes

Hey, here’s an ethnic mash-up for you. My Irish family always celebrated St. Patrick’s Day rather traditionally, in part because my grandfather’s birthday was the 16th and he loved the traditional corned beef and cabbage. Personally, though, I would survive just fine without ever seeing that again (there was an incident involving snow, Georgia, a cancelled party, and corned beef and cabbage for about 30 consumed by the six of us for, oh, about eternity. BLECH.)

However.

Potatoes in all their forms are one of my favorite things on earth. And I’m not actually all that Irish by blood. So I’ve been thinking of ways to mash my Chinese heritage and my Irish heritage into a dish, via midwest America, and I found it via Hanukkah’s latkes. Latkes are the best holiday food anyone has ever invented in the history of all things. Now the symbolism of latkes is focused on the oil not the potatoes, but for St. Patrick’s Day, it seems right to minimize the oil and focus on the potato, no? To hold everything together, instead of egg and flour, I’ve made a homemade sweet and sour sauce, with an added (optional) bonus of hot, and added broccoli for flavor and color (it’s green, right?).

So I bring you the Chinese-Irish St. Patrick’s Day Latke. It’s possible that the story here makes sense to exactly one person in the world (me), but the flavors will make sense to a lot more of you. These are vegan, gluten-free, ethnically diverse, and baked, because frying is just messy. I hope you enjoy them.

Raw latke materials
Raw latke materials

Chinese-Irish Baked Latkes

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (cider or white, your choice)
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 Tablespoons tapioca starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional or adjust to your taste)
  • about 1 inch of a chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and smashed (I just use the pot lid to smash)
  • 2 large baking potatoes, washed and peeled (1.5 to 2 lbs.)
  • 1 large head of broccoli, trimmed (1/2 lb.)
  • oil to grease pans

First, make the sauce. Whisk all ingredients, water through ginger, together in a saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until boiling, and cook, whisking regularly, to reduce to about 1/2 cup, total (a little less than half its original volume, and pretty thick). This takes 10-15 minutes. Strain out ginger and red pepper flakes (the taste of both stays in the sauce, I promise). Set aside while you prep the vegetables.

Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Prepare two pans by spraying or brushing with oil.

Wash the broccoli and potatoes. Peel the potatoes. Chop both into sizes that will fit in your food processor.

Put the broccoli through the shredder blade and then empty into a large mixing bowl. Peel the potatoes and then shred them. Wrap the shreds in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze as much liquid out as you possibly can. Twist and wring — you will be surprised how much liquid is in them, and this makes your patties soggy. Squeeze a little longer than you think you should. Empty them into the bowl as well (and rinse the towel).

Mix the broccoli and potatoes, then add the sauce. Mix. It seems as though it will not come together — but it will. I found a rubber spatula worked best for this, and I had already dirtied one scraping the sauce into the mix; so perfect.

latkes ready for oven
latkes ready for oven

Scoop scant 1/4 cups of the mix onto the greased trays. Flatten these out and neaten up the edges. Don’t skip the neatening! Those bits will burn (as you can see in the photos). Bake on a center rack (not the bottom rack! Ask me how I know.) for 10 minutes, then flip all patties and bake for another 5-10 minutes (this seems to depend on the weight of the pan you are using).

Enjoy hot.

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