The 75% Fat Free Latke

I have a little secret, and I will share it with you today.  The secret to making yummy 75% fat free latkes is to add a little bit of the green stuff.  Seaweed! I’m talking about seaweed! That slimy green stuff that tastes like the sea, that’s the green stuff I’m talking about. Specifically wakame, wakame seaweed is the special green stuff that will turn your Hanukkah from an 8 day fat fest to a 75% off fat free heaven.  Wakame is the most beneficial seaweed for preventing the body from absorbing the fat content of your food. Dr. Mathew Wilcox of Newcastle University has shown that seaweed with a high level of guluronate (read wakame) stops the body breaking down and absorbing fat. His research suggests the number to be at 75% prevention of fat absorption, which means that no matter how much oil is in your latke, if you add a bit of wakame to it, 75% of that fat, will never even enter your bloodstream.  The oil in your latke will leave your body without having any effect on you whatsoever. Which leads to a question, is it worth using seaweed in the latke it if it’s going to ruin the latke?

Hah! That’s the million dollar question.  First of all we try very hard, even with adding wakame, not to ruin the latke.  Secondly, the average weight gain in Israel over Chanukah is FIVE POUNDS! Yes! You read that correctly.  The 8 day miracle and a 5 pound weight gain. Personally, I don’t need that in my life, and neither do the people I am cooking for, but your body, your health, your choice. 

So how to actually do this?  Here are a few helpful tips.

Minimize the taste of the seaweed.  Seaweed is a strongly flavored food and it’s not always the flavor you are looking for, so treat your seaweed with respect.  Soak it in a large amount of water for at least 15 minutes. Squeeze out all of the excess water, and then only use a small amount.  With regard to cooking with seaweed, a little bit goes a very long way. You will reap the fat free benefit even while using a small amount.

The next step to successfully making a wakame potato latke is to not allow anyone to see that you are adding any wakame.  Once someone knows that there is seaweed in the latkes the battle is lost and you will never be trusted to make latkes ever again.  

Disguise and Deceive: 

This way is probably the easiest.  The trick to getting away with cooking with seaweed and not having anyone realize that they are actually eating seaweed, is to serve it with fish.  Since seaweed tastes like fish, if you add seaweed to fish dishes, no one notices that it is there. So serve up your latkes with sour cream and smoked salmon and you are in the clear.  No one will ever notice that grandma’s secret recipe has undergone a healthy twist.

Trickery and foolery.  If people question why there are green bits in the latkes, pretend that the little green bits are parsley and hope that no one has well developed taste buds. You might be able to get away with parsley bits even if you would never manage to tell people that it’s seaweed.  For those who don’t want to lie, you can say, it’s weed and then laugh a bit.  

Honesty and Integrity.

You can tell everyone that you made healthy latkes  with seaweed and see how that goes over. You never know, you might be surrounded by healthy eaters who don’t actually want to gain five pounds in a week and love the idea of eating seaweed.  Know your audience well before you try this route or you might be stuck with a lot of leftover healthy latkes.  

Since you are using wakame there is no need to bake them as your actual fat absorption is minimal here, so go ahead and fry those suckers in as much oil as you like.  The only recommendation that I have for you here is to use a healthy frying oil. Key factors when choosing a healthy oil are, high flash point, a non-refined oil, a non-GMO oil.  The oil that I prefer to use for latke making is organic sunflower oil as it answers to all three of the above criteria.  

If you want to make your latkes even healthier, try a potato veggie combo.  I find that as opposed to the seaweed, my family actually prefers a “not just potato” latke. Adding zucchini, sweet potato and carrots to the latkes can make them fluffier and sweeter and obviously, there is nothing healthier for you than vegetables.  To those of you trying to disguise your wakame as parsley, obviously you should add some parsley bits to your latke, or use the dark green zucchini so that you can pretend that the wakame is anything other than what it actually is.  

I will be honest here,  I actually love these wakame, veggie, potato latkes, and I know other people that love them as well, but if they’re not for you, I completely understand. Not everyone appreciates seaweed.

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  • 3 organic potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1  organic zucchini
  • 1 sweet potato
  • ½  tsp wakame, crumbled and then soaked in ½ glass of water.
  • 1 organic egg 
  • ¼  cup flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼  tsp baking powder (optional)
  • ⅛ tsp turmeric
  • Organic sunflower oil (as needed)

Grate the vegetables and lightly squeeze out any excess water.  Squeeze the excess water from the wakame and add the wakame to the vegetables.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the mixture one tablespoon at a time into the oil.  When the bottom is golden brown, flip the latke and brown the other side.

Remove from the pan and place on a paper towel to remove any excess oil.  

Serve with a dollop of cream and a slice of smoked salmon.  

  • Adding a piece of carrot to the oil prevents the oil from tasting burnt.
  • Turmeric helps with the digestion of any of the 25% remaining fat. 
  • I recommend using organic produce when the non-organic is most likely GMO