Aruk - Iraqi Herb and Potato Patties

Einat Admony Recipe By and Janna Gur
 
  • Cooking and Prep: 2 h
  • Serves: 4
  • Contains:

Friday lunches in traditional Jewish households are light, easy to fix, and often meatless, to leave room for the substantial Shabbat meals that lie ahead. So in Jewish Iraqi homes, you’ll often find these fragrant, golden-green latkes made with loads of fresh herbs, because they come together with minimal effort. Unlike the more familiar and labor-intensive Ashkenazi latkes, made with raw grated potato, these use mashed, precooked potatoes, resulting in crispy patties with a soft interior.

 

The first aruk I ever ate were cooked by Berta, the Iraqi mother of one of my army friends. I went to her house for lunch and was blown away by how delicious her aruk were.

 

I bake my potatoes, rather than boil them, because I like the richer, more potatoey flavor. The drier texture makes the latkes fluffier too. 

 

Recipe makes about 24 patties.

 

Watch Einat prepare these latkes with Naomi on Sunny-Side Up!

Ingredients (23)

Aruk

Red Pepper and Chile Tahini Sauce

Start Cooking

Prepare the Aruk

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).

  2. Bake the potatoes in their skins until completely soft when poked with a skewer or thin knife, about an hour. Let them cool on the counter.

  3. Scoop out the cooled potato flesh and roughly mash in a large bowl.

  4. Grate the onion into another bowl. Squeeze out as much moisture as you can, and then add the onion to the potatoes.

  5. Add the eggs, flour, scallions, parsley, cilantro, cumin, paprika, baharat, salt, and several twists of pepper and mix thoroughly. If you have time, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes (this will stabilize the texture).

  6. Line a tray or plate with two layers of paper towels. Fill a large nonstick skillet with vegetable oil to a depth of 1/4 inch (six millimiters) and heat the oil over medium-high heat.

  7. While the oil is heating, rub your hands with additional oil and shape the potato mixture into patties about two and 1/2 inches (six centimeters) across. Working in batches, add the patties to the hot oil and fry until they are deep golden-green and crispy, two to three minutes on each side. Transfer to the paper towels to drain. Repeat to cook the remaining patties.

  8. Serve hot or warm, with red pepper tahini sauce. Aruk latkes are best fresh out of the skillet, but you can keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for a day; reheat them at 350°F (175°C) for five to seven minutes.

Tip:

To speed things up, you can pulse the herbs and the onion in a food processor until they are finely chopped.

Prepare the Red Pepper and Chile Tahini Sauce

Roasted red peppers add bright color and a sweet flavor to this tahini. I serve it with savory pastry, roasted vegetables, or grilled lamb, and it makes a brilliant sandwich spread.

 

Makes about 2 cups (480 milliliters)

  1. Put the bell peppers and the chile in a food processor or a blender. Add the tahini, lemon juice, and garlic, and puree until completely smooth. Add the honey, paprika, and salt and pulse again to blend.

  2. With the motor running, slowly stream in the ice water and process until smooth.

  3. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

  4. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Credits

Excerpted from Shuk by Einat Admony and Janna Gur (Artisan Books). Copyright ©️ 2019. Photographs by Quentin Bacon.

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