Ohhhh yeah, that’s right, these are the Orna & Ella’s sweet potato pancakes, yogurt-chive dip and cucumber slices. Orna & Ella’s is a fantastic restaurant on the hip Sheinken St. in Tel Aviv, and if you’ve ever seen the Israeli film “HaBuah (The Bubble)” then you’ll recognize this dish as one that was mentioned and the restaurant as well.
The best thing about Orna & Ella’s is that it’s totally unpretentious, despite having out-of-control delicious food and being in a wonderfully young and hip location. The waiters will often sit at the table with you while you order and crack a few jokes.
These sweet potato pancakes are their star dish, and this recipe is only somewhat adapted from the Orna & Ella cookbook. I’ve made things a little bit healthier, subbing Greek yogurt for sour cream, ditching the mayo completely, and using whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose. The best part is that you wouldn’t even know the difference!
This is a fantastic summer lunch or appetizer paired with a finely chopped salad (you could even toss in some of those quick preserved lemons into the salad, which Orna & Ella’s does). The potatoes are incredibly soft and slightly sweet and the chive dip is phenomenally creamy and salty on top. But really, this is quintessential Israeli food in my mind because everyone knows Orna & Ella’s on Sheinken. And if for some very sad reason you don’t, no need to make the trek because now you can have them in your own kitchen.
Makes 25-30 pancakes; serves 4 people as an appetizer
What you need:
2 large sweet potatoes; mashed
1 tblsp soy sauce
3/4 c whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
How to do it:
Mash up all the ingredients together until they become a soft, combined mixture. Let rest for 30 minutes. Transfer into a ziplock bag and make a small cut at the tip (or a piping bag–doing this with a spoon is too dangerous over the oil). Put a thin layer of oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Each time you add new sweet potato mixture you’ll need to add more oil. But don’t use too much. Squirt tablespoon sized balls onto a frying pan and flatten into a patty with the back side of a spoon. Fry for about 6 or 7 minutes or until the sides become golden. Transfer to a piece of paper towel to drain out some of the oil and when you’re finished, cover them all with a paper towel and press down to absorb any additional oil. Place in the refrigerator until serving. BUT before serving, warm them up at a very low temperature in your oven. They heat up very well, so you can make these in advance!
1 container of plain Greek yogurt (if you don’t like this style yogurt, you could just use your favorite plain yogurt brand, too–this is about 3/4 C)
1 tblsp sour cream
2-3 tblsp chives; finely chopped
salt & pepper to taste
Serve as shown above and enjoy!!