I grew up in a home where potatoes were featured nightly on the menu. In fact, my dad would only eat rice or pasta when he went to my sister’s for dinner, much to my mother’s dismay. She would have loved to cook something different. But my mother made wonderful gravy and that’s what my dad wanted—mashed potatoes and gravy.
So when I decided to make latkes from a Hanuuanuk menu featured in Food and Wine magazine many years back, I was a bit at a loss at to what they were to taste like. My friend, who grew up in Brooklyn and knew from a good latke, sent them back to the kitchen with the instructions, “browner and crispier.” Right he was!
We’ve mixed black and wild rice (for higher protein content and black rice is nice and sticky) and grated zucchini with a bit of red onion to make our latkes. An egg and a tablespoon of chickpea flour are added to help bind the pancakes. It takes only about 8-10 minutes to fry these in oil on the stove or cook on an electric griddle. Remember crispy is best and don’t forget to salt!
If you prefer not to make them into shaped cakes then just cook as you would hash browns.
(Note: These directions take into account the different cooking times for wild and black rice, and only black rice needs a rinse. If you are reserving some of the rice for a later date to make more latkes, wait to add the egg and additional zucchini until right before cooking).
In a medium sauce pan add ½ cup rinsed wild rice with 1 ½ cups water and a bit of salt. Bring to near boil and reduced heat to simmer, cover and set timer for 15 minutes. At 15 minutes add ½ cup black rice and 1 cup of water to wild rice in pan and continue cooking both together for another 25-30 minutes until all rice is done—it should be a tiny bit chewy. Remove from heat and let cool. If you want to speed cooling time spread rice on a sheet pan lined with parchment. The latkes hold together better when the rice is not hot.
Coarsely grate the zucchini into a bowl. Dice red onion and place in bowl with zucchini– and the fennel seed if you are choosing to use it. Add rice in about equal amount to the zucchini. You will probably have leftover rice you can use for another dish, or grate more zucchini later in week to make more latkes. Add one egg and the chickpea or gluten-free flour and salt. If you are using all the rice, use two eggs and 2 tablespoons chickpea flour. Stir with a fork to combine.
Heat pan or skillet to med-high and add several tablespoons oil, enough to cover the pan bottom. If you are using a electric non-stick griddle you will need far less oil. Once oil is warm, use two spoons as you would when scooping salad, and place about 1/3 cup of the rice/zucchini mixture per latke. There will be liquid from the zucchini in the bottom of the bowl and this method helps you avoid scooping it up.
Cook for about 4-5 minutes a side, flattening them a bit so they hold together. Flip and cook until browned and crisped. An extra sprinkling of finishing salt makes for a tasty addition.