Upon entering the Temple, the victorious Maccabees wished to kindle the Menora (candelabra). They found only one small jug cruse of pure olive oil, which was sufficient to light only for one day. By a miracle, it continued to burn for eight days, until new oil was made available.
It is a Jewish tradition to eat foods that reflect the significance of a holiday – such as matzah on Passover – and Chanukah is no exception. For hundreds of years, Jews have traditionally eaten oily foods on Chanukah.
Among the most popular Chanukah dishes are sufganiot (deep-fried doughnuts) and potato latkes (pancakes).
Sufganiot (deep-fried doughnuts):
2 packages yeast
1/3 cup sugar
¾ cup water
¼ cup orange juice
1/3 cup margarine
½ teaspoon salt
4 or 5 cups flour
3 egg yolks
Jelly of your choice for filling
Mix water, sugar, juice and yeast. Let stand 10 minutes. Melt margarine and add to yeast mixture. Beat in eggs and salt. Add flour, mixing and kneading by hand to form a soft dough. Let rise 1½ hours. Roll dough ¼ inch thick and cut circles (approximately 2 inches). Let circles rise a half hour. Deep fry at 400° F for about three minutes, turning once. Pipe in jelly and roll in powdered sugar.
Potato Latkes (pancakes)
5 large potatoes, peeled
1 large onion
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¾ cup oil for frying
Grate potatoes and onion on the fine side of a grater or in a food processor, or put in a blender with a little water. Strain grated potatoes and onion through a colander, pressing out excess water. Add eggs, flour, and seasoning. Mix well. Heat ½ cup oil in a 10-inch skillet. Lower flame and place 1 large tablespoon batter at a time into hot sizzling oil and fry on one side for approximately five minutes until golden brown. Turn over and fry on other side two to three minutes. Remove from pan and place on paper towels to drain excess oil. Continue with remaining batter until used up, adding more oil when necessary. Yields four to six servings.
For more information, insights, FAQs, stories, recipes and customs for the holiday of Chanukah, visit www.jewishdelta.com/chanukah.