This recipe appears in Issue 13 of Asian Jewish Life.
"Tom Yum" Latkes (an original recipe by Allaya Fleischer)
2 stalks of lemongrass, trimmed with dead leaves removed (alternatively, use 2 tablespoons or so of dried, powdered lemongrass)
3 shallots, quartered
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or, to suit taste
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4-5 kefir lime leaves
1 teaspoon oil
1 handful cilantro (optional)
2 pounds (approximately), shredded potatoes
2 eggs, beaten
1) Up to a day in advance, shred 2 pounds of potatoes. Liberally sprinkle with lemon juice and kosher salt, and toss to combine. Place potatoes in a colander to drain. The lemon juice will prevent the potatoes from discoloring, and the salt will help remove moisture.
2) For the Tom Yum paste: wash lemongrass and remove the fibrous bottom and the scraggly top portion. There should be a good 10 inches or so that is light green; this is what you want to use. Slice and place into a food processor (this can also be done with a mortar and pestle). Add peeled and quartered shallots, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, paprika, kefir lime leaves, and sugar. Process for a few seconds at a time, scraping the sides down with a spatula. When the particles become fine, slowly drizzle about a teaspoon of oil while processing and blend until the ingredients come together into somewhat of a paste. If it’s a little lumpy, that’s okay, as long as you can’t easily distinguish one ingredient from the other.
3) Place shredded potatoes, a few handfuls at a time, into a dish cloth and fold cloth into thirds lengthwise. Wring the cloth with potatoes inside until you’ve extracted as much moisture as you can. Set aside in a large bowl. Continue with remaining potato shreds. Sprinkle potatoes with kosher salt, to taste (about a tablespoon will do it). Add beaten eggs and about 1/4 cup of potato starch. Add Tom Yum paste from food processor, and toss to combine.
4) In a large skillet over medium heat, add about 1/2 an inch of oil. When glistening and hot, carefully add potatoes. It’s best to spread out the piles of potatoes into uniform patties, rather than a mound. Flip latke when browned on one side, and continue browning on the other. Remove when desired crispness is achieved and drain on paper towels. Serve hot.
Have a very Thai Chanukah from Asian Jewish Life!
To read more from Allaya, you can also visit her blog I Speak Food.