Crispy latkes, sweet challah or savory knishes? Eight classic Hanukkah recipes.

·3 min read

Hanukkah, the eight-day Jewish celebration, begins Nov. 28 and ends on Dec. 6 this year.

Also known as the Festival of Lights, the holiday commemorates the underdog victory in 164 B.C. by a group of Jewish worshippers against a king who attacked the religion’s beliefs and desecrated the Second Temple of Jerusalem in an attempt to spread Greek culture.

According to the Talmud, one of Judaism’s main texts, when the temple was rededicated, worshipers only had enough olive oil to keep their menorah’s candles burning for a single day. Instead, they burned for eight.

Today, the celebration of Hanukkah, the Hebrew word for “dedication," includes feasts that bring much more than olive oil to the table -- although oil plays a big role.

Here are eight traditional recipes to prepare over the eight-day holiday.

Latkes

Latkes. Photo courtesy of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and Wisconsin resident Sharon Madnek.
Latkes. Photo courtesy of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and Wisconsin resident Sharon Madnek.

The iconic food is a fried potato pancake which can be served as an appetizer or a side dish. The crispy treat is fried in olive oil and can be somewhat time-consuming to prepare, so don’t try it last minute. Cooked in a number of variations, latkes are often accented with a crème Fraiche or sour cream dipping sauce.

If you want to go beyond the traditional, potato-only recipe, check out the recipe for Vegetable Latkes on Chabad.org.

Brisket

Brisket from Mikki and Al's Noshery in New Jersey.
Brisket from Mikki and Al's Noshery in New Jersey.

Charred on the outside and moist on the inside, this super-tender cut of meat is a staple for any Hanukkah celebration. Smoked or slow- cooked, the iconic dish can be served in a variety of formats from stews to pasta dishes.

From the Food & Wine website, you can find a cranberry-onion Hanukkah brisket recipe or inspiration for a new take on your preparation this year.

Kugel

The Kosher Nosh's kugel
The Kosher Nosh's kugel

The dense and rich dish is sometimes made from potatoes but it is most commonly known as a noodle dish, combining eggs, sour cream, and cottage cheese, according to a favorite recipe published by Katie Workman on TheMom100.com.

An excellent side for a brisket meal, you can bake it up to two days before serving and reheat in the oven at 300 degrees for 15 minutes.

Challah

A loaf of challah from Jax Bread Co.
A loaf of challah from Jax Bread Co.

The deep, textured bread is typical for any Jewish celebration. Enriched with eggs, it is similar to brioche and contains butter and oil.

Baking any type of bread is not easy - buying a loaf is always the safe option - but if you want to try your hand preparing the smooth staple offering this year, check out this recipe found on KingArthurBaking.com

Matzo Ball Soup

TooJay's Passover menu includes matzo ball soup. Photo courtesy TooJay's
TooJay's Passover menu includes matzo ball soup. Photo courtesy TooJay's

Use an entire chicken to prepare this Matzo Ball Soup recipe from Bon Appetit. The hearty dish features dumplings and can include egg noodles, carrots, and celery to accent its taste.

Sufganiyot

The sufganiyot at Patisserie Florentine in Englewood, Closter and Hackensack, New Jersey
The sufganiyot at Patisserie Florentine in Englewood, Closter and Hackensack, New Jersey

The round jelly doughnut-like treat is easily found at Hannukah celebrations around the world. Deep-fried in oil and packed with jam or custard, the sweet is topped with powdered sugar.

In this recipe from Martha Stewart, the cooking icon recommends sprinkling the doughnut with granulated sugar for a “wintry effect.”

Roasted Chicken

The website myjewishlearning.com gives a practical solution for a roasted chicken recipe that you can “throw together in a pinch or re-invent with every chicken you make.”

Add in a variety of vegetables and spices to taste. The only item that’s constant is the chicken. The recipe recommends using a whole chicken that can be stuffed with herbs and vegetables to enhance the flavor.

Knish


This Nov. 3, 2014 photo shows potato knishes in Concord, N.H. Though there are many variations of the knish, they essentially are the hand pie of classic Jewish cuisine: a baked, though sometimes fried, light pastry dough filled with mashed vegetables, often potatoes, or meat.
This Nov. 3, 2014 photo shows potato knishes in Concord, N.H. Though there are many variations of the knish, they essentially are the hand pie of classic Jewish cuisine: a baked, though sometimes fried, light pastry dough filled with mashed vegetables, often potatoes, or meat.

The classic Jewish comfort food is a perfect pastry-like appetizer that can be baked or deep-fried. In its traditional format, a Knish is filled entirely with mashed potatoes and cheese, usually, cream cheese, but variations can add spinach, black beans, and sour cream.

Find your ingredients and follow this five-step recipe from tasteofhome.com

This article originally appeared on The Bulletin: Latke, knish, matzo ball soup, and kugel: Hanukkah dishes to delight