I always thought the key to the perfect potato pancake was hand-grating the potatoes and onion, as opposed to using a food processor.
But Ben’s Best Kosher Deli says the real trick is using paper towels to soak up the excess liquid of the grated potato and onion. Put a double layer of paper towels together, and press down on the grated mixture, repeating a few times until a majority of the liquid has been removed.
The key is not to go overboard (like my husband did as he tried to dry the grated potatoes like his life depended on it one time) or it will be too dry. It’s a delicate balance between blotting a lot but not overdoing it — remove the majority of the moisture but not all of it.
This trick also works like a charm with other grated vegetables, like zucchini, when turning into fritters. A little blotting goes a long way.
Cooking Secrets from Immigrant Kitchens
While working on my latest cookbook, Queens: A Culinary Passport, I chatted with cooks and chefs from diverse ethnic backgrounds (Himalayan, Cuban, Cypriot, Szechuan, and more). As I learned how to replicate their dishes in my own kitchen, I amassed a slew of tips from them that I began using in my everyday cooking life.