Falatke: The New Holiday Tradition

by Michal Levison on November 6, 2015

Falatke Falatkes with schug, labane, tomato and scallion salad, zaatar and a little drizzle of olive oil

I don’t know if I invented this or not, but I have never seen it nor heard of it, so I’m taking credit. It happened a few days ago as I was driving to meet a client. I had some quiet time in the car…I looked around me at the beauty of autumnal leaves turning all sorts of incredible colors. All of a sudden, I found myself thinking about the next holiday.  Since I’m not hosting Thanksgiving, for me it’s Chanukkah. Admittedly, I was hungry at 10:30 in the morning and also thinking what I wanted for lunch. I was craving falafel. Thinking about making latkes and having falafel for lunch…and all of a sudden a lightbulb went off. I’m serious, I think I saw a flash! Latkes, falafels. Two of my favorite fried foods. What if I combined them into one delicious treat??? What if that treat had a name? OMG! FALATKE!!! That was the birth of this fine new tradition. The question remained – would it work?

I set out to determine if this was a silly idea or the next best thing. An interesting coincidence is that I made these on the one year anniversary of my grandmother’s death. What is the connection? I feel like the falatke is the embodiment of my Savta Chaya. She was born in Poland but brought to Israel at the ripe old age of five months. She was truly a melding of the Eastern European Jewish tradition with the very Sabra and Middle Eastern modernity of Israel. She was a great cook and a huge influence in my life, so I’m happy to dedicate this invention to her…the Falatke – quite possibly the most Jewish way to eat a falafel!!! But I digress…

I’m happy to report – this is AMAZING. Not to toot my own horn too much, but holy cow! I then experimented with toppings and ways to eat the falatke and I have to tell you that it’s great simply on its own or as a vehicle for yummy additions. Dip it in tahini, top it with labane and Israeli salad, stuff it in a pita with all the accoutrements, add a little hot sauce (or schug), top it with hummus…the choices are endless!

So, here’s the deal. I want you to make these. And then I want to see your results! Post them on the Bump to Bean Facebook page or Instagram and tag them #falatke. To add an incentive (if the above image isn’t enough), I’m hosting a contest. One lucky winner gets $100 Williams Sonoma Gift Card, my Homemade Schug and Shakshuka sauce FedExed to their home. Enter to win by Dec. 15. Here are the rules:

1. Follow me on Instagram @afamilypassionforfood
2. Post a picture of your falatkes
3. Tag your photo #falatke and @afamilypassionforfood
4. Like your favorite falatke (search the hashtag #falatke and “like” the best shots) – the photo with the most Likes will win

Easy as pie! Good luck!

Falatke Recipe

Falafel Batter


  • 2 medium onions
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs or ground up veggie chips or tortilla chips (whatever you have on hand – my fave is veggie chips that I pulse so it’s gluten free)
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • 2 cans chickpeas (each can = 15 oz), drained, rinsed and drained again
  • 2 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 cup fresh parsley
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Put all the ingredients in the bowl of a food process.  Pulse until the chickpeas are pulverized but not pastey. But, since we’re stuffing these into latkes, if you get pastey, don’t worry!

Latke Batter


  • 1 lb potatoes (I love to use Yukon Gold, but any spud will do)
  • 1/2 cup minced onions (grated is good too)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Sunflower oil for frying

Peel the potatoes and be grateful that you’re not outside on KP duty somewhere in the frozen tundra! Grate the potatoes. I’m not going to be a stickler here – whatever is best for you, whether by hand or by food processor. Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter! Place grated potatoes in a bowl with cold water. Let sit for two minutes, then drain.

Mince the onions – the quickest way to do this is to grate them.

Place potatoes and onions in a towel (or triple thick paper towels) and squeeze all the liquid out. Place back into a bowl and mix in the egg and salt.

Make the Falatkes

Heat 1/4 cup of sunflower oil in a 12″ pan over medium high heat.

Using a teaspoon, take a bit of falafel batter and coat on both sides with the latke batter. Using the spoon, delicately place the falatke in the pan. Reduce heat to medium. Cook until undersides are browned (around 4 minutes) then flip. Cook another four minutes until both sides are done. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

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