Poor fried food. Most people have such a love-hate relationship with it. It’s so unhealthy, but who can say no to…just about anything hot and crisp out of the deep fryer. That takes a lot of willpower.

When Chanukah rolls around, we are instructed to eat fried foods to commemorate the oil that lasted eight days. That’s a pretty tall order, especially considering the bad rap fried food gets. But here’s what we think: Chanukah comes just once a year, so make it count. Don’t waste time or calories on subpar temple carnival latkes. Instead, go for those foods that make Chanukah (and your lips and fingers) truly glisten.

That’s why this year we challenged the contributors to our Chanukah Top 10 to go all out and really celebrate the oil that makes Chanukah, well, Chanukah.

The results were pretty hot, if we do say so ourselves. In the savory category, Leah Hadad mixed up hawaiij-spiced Fried Lentil Knishes, Marcia Friedman went Italian with Smoked Gouda Risotto Balls and Amy Kritzer served up Beet Fries with Goat Cheese Sauce. We said no latkes, but Ari Miller swayed us with his Giant Fermented Latke with Pickled Herring (start this one a week early!). Laura Kumin created a Jews-on-Christmas-inspired Holiday Fried Rice that is fried, but also healthy—and quick—enough to serve on a weeknight when you don’t feel like pulling out the deep fryer, or as a heartier main dish at a Chanukah party.

For dessert, the tired sufganiyot are getting a break this year. Shannon Sarna hit a sweet note with Sweet Fried Noodle Kugel Balls, Paula Shoyer went international with Churros, Kwon Crumble Benowitz upped the ante with Fried Orange Cardamom Rice Pudding Balls with Saffron Crème Anglaise and Alex Levin combined nostalgia and sophistication in his Brioche Doughnuts with Caramelized Apple Compote. Looks like the deep fryer is going to get a lot of use this year…

Sip it all with Emily Landsman’s Hot Buttered Brandy, which tastes like a state fair—and state fairs are basically the land of deep-fried everything!

Happy Chanukah!

 

Beet Fries with Goat Cheese Sauce Beet Fries with Goat Cheese Sauce
Amy Kritzer
Blogger, What Jew Wanna Eat
Fried Lentil Knishes
Fried Lentil Knishes
Leah Hadad
Creator and owner, Tribes-A-Dozen
Smoked Gouda Risotto Balls Smoked Gouda Risotto Balls
Marcia Friedman
Author, Meatballs and Matzah Balls
Giant Fermented Latke with Pickled Herring Giant Fermented Latke with Pickled Herring
Ari Miller
Chef and co-owner, Food Underground
Holiday Fried Rice Holiday Fried Rice
Laura Kumin
Blogger, Mother Would Know
Sweet Fried Noodle Kugel Balls
Sweet Fried Noodle Kugel Balls
Shannon Sarna
Editor, The Nosher

Fried Orange Cardamom Rice Pudding Balls with Saffron Crème Anglaise Fried Orange Cardamom Rice Pudding Balls with Saffron Crème Anglaise
Kwon Crumble Benowitz
Chef, Chef Kwon Crumble LLC
Churros Churros
Paula Shoyer
Pastry chef and author, The Kosher Baker and The Holiday Kosher Baker
Brioche Doughnuts with Caramelized Apple Compote Brioche Doughnuts with Caramelized Apple Compote
Alex Levin
Executive pastry chef, Osteria Morini
Hot Buttered Brandy Hot Buttered Brandy
Emily Landsman
Media consultant and cocktail connoisseur