Spicy and Sweet Yam Latkes for Thanksgivukkah

sweet and spicy yam latkes

Yams have pretty much stayed on the lowest rung of my list of favorite vegetables until I discovered the gateway to yam heaven – latkes!  Latkes are shredded potato pancakes usually made around the time of the Jewish holiday Hanukkah, which is coming up and actually coincides with Thanksgiving this year.  I guess unknowingly I came up with a ‘Thanksgivukkah’ recipe by making latkes out of yams, a popular Thanksgiving menu item usually paired with marshmallows.  And this is how it all began…

Japanese yam


I love the original latkes recipe, but I was forced to get creative when I picked up some yams at the local market mistakenly.  In the store, they were labeled as sweet potatoes. I don’t know why I believed the sign because clearly they didn’t look like sweet potatoes. Upon cutting into the first one, I realized the flesh was white, which led me on a long journey on the Internet all about the difference between yams and sweet potatoes. Apparently, mislabeling and confusion about sweet potatoes and yams is rampant across the nation and people are up in arms about it….

Anyway, instead of lamenting about all of the yams I bought and didn’t know how to cook – mine were Japanese purple yams I found out – I figured I couldn’t go wrong with making them into latkes spiked with Kashmiri mirch, a mild and sweet Indian chili powder that resembles paprika.  Kashmiri mirch is bright red and provides the coloring for a lot of popular Indian dishes like tandoori chicken.

Kashmiri mirch

In this recipe, you can definitely use paprika if you don’t have Kashmiri mirch or the other similar mild Indian red chili powder, deggi mirch.  Any of these chili powders will do the trick to make your yam latkes sweet and spicy.  I also used chickpea flour, which is usually what is used to batter fried foods in Indian cooking, but you can use all-purpose flour if that’s what you have.

I served them with a dip I made of Greek yogurt, dill and lemon and a salad with my tomato achaar (part of my new condiments line Brooklyn Delhi coming soon!!) whisked into a tahini dressing.  I hope you enjoy!


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  • marci

    Chitra, it’s great to find your blog after taking your class at Brooklyn Brainery! It’s fun that so many of your dishes have a fusion element. And I appreciate the “gluten-free” tags. This one would be *wonderful* with your tomato achaar!

    • Chitra Agrawal

      Thanks so much Marci! I’m glad you are enjoying the site and yes I totally have been experimenting with all different recipes with my achaars. Will be sharing those as well. Please let me know if you have questions on any of the recipes and happy to help.