Hanukkah, also known as the festival of lights, is an annual Jewish celebration that falls around the end of the calendar year. It commemorates the miraculous victory of the tiny Maccabee army against the gigantic army of the Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks). And according to the legend, that wasn’t the only miracle that occurred.
When the Maccabees claimed their victory, they were able to reclaim the temple of Jerusalem. However, they found that they did not have enough purified oil to light the temple’s grand lanterns for celebration. Miraculously, one small flask of oil lasted eight full days and nights — just long enough to prepare a fresh supply of pure oil.
People around the world celebrate Hanukkah in all kinds of ways. Some people play dreidel. Some people dance the hora. Families come together to say prayers and light a special menorah called a hannukiah in commemoration of the ancient tale.
But no matter how you celebrate, there’s one thing that’s for sure: Great food is going to be involved. Many of these foods have symbolic significance. Fried foods, for instance, are popular due to the oil used to make them. The oil symbolizes the oil the Maccabees used to light the temple’s lanterns.
Perhaps the most famous Hanukkah food is the latke: a fried potato pancake typically topped with either sour cream or applesauce. Crispy on the edges, greasy and delicious… But latkes aren’t the only treat to look forward to when Hanukkah rolls around. Here are eight delicious recipes to celebrate all eight days and nights.
What’s a Hanukkah celebration without latkes? Crispy, fried potatoes are practically a must on this winter holiday. Pair yours with applesauce or sour cream, depending on whether you prefer them sweet or savory. Don’t skimp on the oil when you cook your batch! It’s only once a year you get to indulge in these delicious potato pancakes.
The best-tasting applesauce is homemade. And it’s surprisingly easy to make! Whip up a large pot to go alongside your batch of latkes.
Looking for a less traditional way to serve latkes? Try frying up something other than potatoes! These butternut squash latkes are the epitome of fall and add a little bit of sweetness to your Hanukkah dinner.
Spice things up this year with these Mexican-inspired latkes. Cilantro, sour cream, and jalapeños add a kick of unexpected flavor to the mix.
Sufganiyot are round jelly-filled doughnuts traditionally served on Hanukkah. These deep-fried treats are served in commemoration of the oil used to light the menorah in the famous story of the Maccabees.
What is kugel, you ask? It’s essentially a sweet, creamy noodle casserole. There are also kugels made with potatoes. But on Hanukkah, it’s most often made with egg noodles, cheese, and raisins.
Gelt is the Yiddish term for “money,” which is how this sweet treat got its name. To celebrate their victory, the Maccabees minted national coins, according to popular legend. Gelt is also associated with the popular game of dreidel. Children and adults play on Hanukkah, betting money or chocolate gelt on the results of a four-sided spinning top. Most people buy chocolate gelt at the store where it’s wrapped in gold foil. But if you want to get creative, you can make your own!
Get lit this Hanukkah! While the kids munch on chocolate gelt, adults can sip on this delightful cocktail to celebrate the festival of lights. Thanks to Goldschläger, every glass sparkles like a gold coin. And thanks to chocolate vodka, it will remind you of the classic chocolate candy. Chocolate gelt has only really been a thing on Hanukkah since the 19th century. How much do you know about the origins of your favorite Hanukkah food traditions?
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