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 small yellow 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.

5 comments on "Spicy Sweet Potato Pancakes"
  1. Hello Alexandra, yesterday I made these sweet potato pancakes (I have also made two of your granola recipes and a chocolate recipe and more- all so very delicious!). The pancakes were very delicious but I was wondering if I should wring out the moisture from the shredded potato and onion or just leave out the added water because my 'batter' was very wet and I couldn't make the pancakes looking nice like yours. Should they be dense and soft or light and crispy?
    The flavor was deliciously spicy and sweet! Thank you for sharing your recipes and stories. I Have just printed out the chocolate snack cake you made for your sisters birthday.
    May I ask, what is one of your favorite recipes - what recipe from your site would you recommend I really should make?

    1. Goodness, Yvonne, I'm so happy you're making my recipes! I haven't had any issues with it being too wet at all - usually it's really quite dry, more so than regular latkes. You could wring it out or try adding a little bit more chickpea flour. The batter is slightly wet but not overly goopy, it should be pretty easy to shape with your hands! It might be different variety of sweet potato to what I can get here. The end result should be somewhere in between - crispy outside, soft inside, but quite light. I'm happy you like the flavour and I hope you make them again with the suggestions :)

      That's lovely. Ooh it's a bit tricky to pick! The ultimate peanut butter cookies are always a big hit, and I love the apple crumble bars (I make them every week in the fall!) - I'll give you two that I've been making consistently for the past few years as they've become fast favourites in my house. The carrot, red lentil, and spinach soup is great for everyday, and when I'm looking for something special I make the vegan holiday pie. But more than anything else, I think my all-time favourite is the chocolate banana babka! I love bread and it's so fun to make. Sorry you asked for one and I gave you several; there are almost 250 recipes on the blog so it was a little difficult to narrow it down!

    2. Sorry I missed the note on water before - try not adding it, and see if it's wet enough without! Then if you need to add a splash you can.

  2. I am positively going to try the sweet potato pancakes again omitting the additional water and just following your advise to look at the 'batter' to determine if it needs more chickpea flour. Sweet potatoes can differ in moistness I guess.
    Glad you mentioned the apple crumble bars because I made them not long after you posted the recipe and I loved them! I made the apple puree using the (famous) Dutch variety Boskoop that we use here in the Netherlands to make apple pie. I have to make these again - always trying out new recipes out of curiosity and this
    way delicious recipes that I have already made and loved end up further below of my enormous and ever growing pile of printed recipes!
    I am not sure if I have made your peanut butter cookies, I have made a lot of peanut butter cookies from the internet, so I will just have to make them to refresh my memory (just printed the recipe, so I will probably end up finding a duplicate of it if I ever find the courage to organize that pile of recipes).
    I rarely make soup but the carrot, red lentil and spinach soup you suggest makes me think why I don't make soup more often (printing it .. )?
    The vegan holiday pie looks very impressive; the day you posted it I remember thinking how proud I would be if I would serve this to my family; but I think I am a little bit of a coward: seeing it looking so impressive I am afraid I would mess up the recipe because I think I am not talented enough for impressive dishes :(
    This insecurity certainly applies to baking with yeast: I only baked bread a handful of times (years ago) so I am still a bit scared of it. But looking at the pictures of the babka again and reading one of the comments 'This is the most amazing bread I have ever tasted' has made me push the print button immediately - it must be my next project (has to be quickly because there are bananas blackening here at home)!
    Thank you for taking the time to advise me,
    as always looking forward reading your blog posts!

    1. I'm so happy to hear it :) Aha, I use Boskoop apples too! I live very close to Holland, in Oldenburg, and my grandmother has a Boskoop tree in her garden. It's my favourite variety. The peanut butter cookies are nice because they're made with coconut flour but still taste like normal cookies. Hahaha I need to bind a blog-book and send it to you! I'm sure you're a very talented cook - and it never hurts to try, I think, that's how we improve. Thanks so much, Yvonne!