What is a latke?
A latke is a potato pancake. Most people think of the potato pancake as a Jewish dish, but potato pancakes of some sort exist in potato-eating cultures around the world.
Your basic latke is made by frying grated potatoes in oil until nicely browned on both sides, and seasoning them with salt and pepper. Some latke recipes add egg, chopped or grated onion, minced garlic, milk, melted butter or herbs and spices to the preparation.
Latkes can be eaten plain as a snack, with a side salad, topped with applesauce or sour cream, as an accompaniment to roasted meats, or with a fried egg on top. The French sometimes serve potato galettes with coq au vin. The Poles stuff them with goulash. Jews eat them during Hannukah, but only because they are fried, not because they play a special role in the religious holiday. The Swedes add grated potatoes to a pancake batter, while Germans and Austrians eat them with garlic, salt and butter.
Potato pancakes can also be made by simply dropping a pile of grated potatoes into hot oil and frying until browned and cooked through, then seasoning them with salt and pepper while they're still hot.
Related: Brys' Latkes With Fried Eggs And Caviar (Cookthink blog)
Video: How to make potato latkes (Handmade TV)