Leek, Potato, and Feta Pancakes and a Fried Food Blog Hop

Leek, Potato, and Feta Pancakes

I still can’t get over the fact that it’s December. But here it is, and Hanukkah (Chanukah) starts tomorrow evening, in all it’s fried glory. Being in Israel for the holiday means sufginyot (jelly donuts) everywhere, latkes on the cover of every food magazine, and huge menorahs around town. My favorite, though, is sticking my head out the window on the first night of Hanukkah and smelling the frying oil in the thick, greasy air. It’s fried food heaven, and it’s glorious.Home in New York, Hanukkah means shredded potato pancakes (and lots of them) with my husband’s family. In Israel, I’ve been exposed to the wide world of Sephardic and Mizrahi Jewish cuisine, which goes well beyond latkes (although nothing will ever surpass my mother-in-laws latkes). There are the sufginyot that explode in bakeries around the country. They come with various fillings, or can be presented as a large donut hole, more like a beignet than an American donut (they are lighter, not as sweet, and less cakey). Then there are Sephardic bimuelos and North African sfenj, both of which are variations on the fried, sweet dough theme.

Leek, Potato, and Feta Pancakes

In Istanbul last spring I tasted my first kefte de prasa, or leek patty, and was hooked. These leek, potato, and feta pancakes are a non-traditional riff on that recipe. Crispy on the outside and creamy in the middle, lightly flavored with cumin, and perfectly fried, they’re two-bite fried wonders. Plus, since they use mashed potato instead of breadcrumbs as an adhesive, they’re naturally gluten free!

5.0 from 5 reviews
Leek, Potato, and Feta Pancakes
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
These leek, potato, and feta pancakes make the perfect addition to the Hanukkah table, but they're hard to resist any time of year, for any reason.
Recipe Type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Kosher, Sephardic
Yield: Makes about 30 pancakes
  • ½ pound potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 5-6 leeks (white and light green parts), trimmed and cleaned
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ cup crumbled feta or Bulgarian cheese
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper
  • Vegetable or canola oil, for frying
  1. Boil and mash the potatoes (or use 1 cup leftover mashed potatoes). Put in a mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. Boil the leeks until very soft, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain and allow to cool fully. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible, then mix in food processor until smooth (or chop finely by hand).
  3. Add the leeks to the potatoes and along with the cumin, feta and egg. Season with salt and pepper. Mix together thoroughly with your hands until fully combined (the mixture will be quite moist, but you should still be able to form small pancakes).
  4. Form into small patties. Heat oil in a large skillet until very hot and fry the patties until golden brown on both sides. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
  5. Serve immediately with sour cream, if you like. Alternately, keep warm in a 200F oven (but they're really best right away).
Gluten free, Kosher dairy, Vegetarian

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27 thoughts on “Leek, Potato, and Feta Pancakes and a Fried Food Blog Hop

  1. Kimberly

    Oh my goodness! I am a huge fan of potato pancakes, and I do believe these sound like the best ones I’ve every encountered!

    Can’t wait to give these a try!

  2. mjskit

    Katherine, I did not know that fried foods were such a big part of Hanukkah. Love learning something new! Your potato pancakes look delicious and the combination of flavors is perfect! Thanks for hosting such a great hop again! Have a marvelous weekend!

  3. JJ @ 84thand3rd

    Love the addition of feta to these little pancakes, they sound delicious. Your waxing lyrical about fried food cracks me up, and I now have a suspicious craving for a jelly doughnut 😉 Happy Hanukkah!!

  4. Stacy

    Those little pancakes look divine! I am a fan of fried food, as my waistline will attest and I love seeing your home in Israel through your eyes! I can just smell the frying now. : )

  5. Manu

    Yum! These look amazing! I love feta AND fried food… mmmm I would love to have some of these for dinner! Sfenj sound a lot like Sicilian Sfinci! 🙂

  6. john@kitchenriffs

    Anything fried is wonderful! And it’s amazing how many holiday treats are fried. I’m not complaining, just happy about it! These look terrific. I love the combo of leeks and feta. Good stuff – thanks.

  7. Eha

    Tho’ I do keep away from most fried foods for health reasosn, I do have a weakness for latkes. Your pancakes with leeks and feta are a big drawcard, but: how big are the leeks at your disposal? I just weighed the two in my fridge, the small one was 450 gms, the larger over 600!! They are both about 60 cms long! I am sure something is not quite right: does Australia grow these supersize 😀 !

  8. foodwanderings

    Love your take on kefte de prasa, Katherine. Funny thing am not a huge fan of leeks, though I don’t hate them, but I too ended up using them in latkes today! BTW saw some of your recent writings, me like! 🙂

  9. sara

    These little pancakes look fantastic! I have been getting really into various vegetable fritters lately…so yummy and also lots of fun! 🙂

  10. Hannah

    Oh my, Katherine, you’ve put together some of my favorite flavors! These latkes are decadent. I hope you’re enjoying a fun Hanukkah celebration in Israel!

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