Published November 24, 2010 - Last Updated January 22, 2021
Thanksgiving is very close to the first night of Hanukkah this year, which means both holidays are simultaneously on my mind! Last week I came up with a fun little dish that combines the two holiday traditions into one tasty treat– Sweet Potato Coconut Chremslach.
Chremslach (singular: chremsel) is the Yiddish word for a fried pancake, and it can appear in many different forms. The most popular chremsel is a pancake made of matzo called bubeleh. Chremslach can also be made from potatoes. Potato chremslach are very similar to latkes, with one major difference. Instead of shredding the potatoes, as we do with latkes, the potatoes are mashed and made into a thick batter before frying. Matzo or breadcrumbs and eggs can be added to bind the batter and keep the pancakes from falling apart. Chremslach often appear on deli menus as “potato pancakes,” and can easily be mistaken for latkes. While latkes are thinner and crisper due to the shredded texture of the potatoes, chremslach are more fluffy.
Sweet potatoes (the orange yam variety) are always part of our Thanksgiving menu, while chremslach and latkes are a traditional part of our Hanukkah celebration. Because Hanukkah is on the heels of Thanksgiving this year, it seems fitting to combine the two dishes into one. There are many sweet potato pancake recipes out there, some veering to the sweet side and some to savory. I decided to take it in the direction of sweet with a touch of exotic spice. Garam masala gives it an Indian twist, while coconut adds a subtle nutty depth. The result is a delicious little pancake that is crispy on the outside while soft and fluffy on the inside.
These sweet chremslach are fun and different, and will bring a distinctly Jewish touch to your Thanksgiving table. I like them with a sprinkle of sea salt at the end of cooking. The combination of salty sweetness is super yummy (think salted caramel). Or you can dust them with powdered sugar for a more dessert-like finish… I served them that way recently, and a friend who was visiting told me the flavor reminded him of a cinnamon roll. Delish! Make sure you serve them fresh from the pan, they’re the best that way. Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
Thanks for stopping by! I am fascinated by the story behind the food – why we eat what we eat, how the foods of different cultures have evolved, and how yesterday’s food can inspire us in the kitchen today. Read more...