Spicy Sweet Potato Pancakes

January 12, 2018

I grew up eating latkes, or potato pancakes, a few times a month. My mom would make them as a quick dinner after coming home from work and I was always happy to have them. Her grandmother used to make them, and I think she taught my mom, and then I started making them when I was a kid too. I think my Omi's diet is 90% latkes and müsli, so they're pretty popular in my family. The thing is, regular potato pancakes aren't exactly a healthy, balanced meal. I still make them every once in a while as a treat but for the past couple of years, I've been having these vegan spicy sweet potato pancakes instead. I had always been making them with eggs, but a few days ago, I tried them with just chickpea flour instead. I had been testing chickpea flour dosa and figured if they hold together, then latkes should too. There were eggs on standby just in case it didn't hold, but turns out chickpea flour really does the trick! I actually prefer the texture and found that they hold together better and don't get soggy right away like they do with eggs. Chickpea flour wins again!

Sweet potato latkes are super versatile, and I happily eat them at any time of day. If you're thinking potato pancakes are too time consuming or difficult, kick that thought out of your head right now. They take about ten minutes to make, and I promise that these are really easy to cook and flip without having them fall apart. They're probably easier than regular pancakes and everyone and their dog can make pancakes, right? The ingredients are simple, just with a few spices to make things interesting, and you can top them with apple sauce, the traditional choice, or yogurt, or even (gasp!) ketchup. I like them with all three, but not at the same time. I usually eat a full batch of these on my own but I suppose you could share with another person. Any more than that and you might want to double the recipe.

I wrote this recipe years ago but was never brave enough to photograph them until now! Potato pancakes are HARD.

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Spicy Sweet Potato Pancakes
Makes about ten

1 1/2 cup sweet potato, shredded*
1/2 medium white onion, shredded
1/4 cup chickpea flour
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon paprika*
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
Coconut oil for cooking

Shred the sweet potato and onion into a large bowl, and add the chickpea flour, water, oil, vinegar, and spices. Use a wooden spoon or you hands to mix very well, making sure no streaks of flour remain. Set aside.

Heat a large flat-bottomed pan over medium heat. Add a small amount of coconut oil (or your preferred cooking oil). Form a ball with about two tablespoons of the sweet potato mixture, flatten it between your hands to about a 2cm thickness, and place into the hot pan. Cook for about a minute, until golden, then flip and cook for another minute. Cook three or four at a time but don't crowd the pan. Repeat until all of the batter has been used.

You can place the finished pancakes into a warm oven, but they shouldn't really have time to cool down. Serve hot with your desired toppings.

• Mixing well is very important here - I made one batch without mixing enough and kept getting mouthfuls of chickpea flour. It's not nice.
• When you flip the latkes, press them down with the spatula to flatten a little more. The more surface space the better.

1. This is a medium sweet potato or half of a larger one, but be sure to measure, at least the first time.
2. Smoked paprika is great here but sweet is good too, just use what you have.

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