There is a historical reason why most Hanukkah menus offer foods that have been fried in oil. In the second century B.C., a one-day supply of oil inexplicably burned for eight days and eight nights after Judah Maccabee and his followers recaptured Jerusalem’s Holy Temple from their Syrian oppressors. Hanukkah is the celebration of that miracle, and fried foods are served to commemorate the oil. In this country, the Eastern European potato latke is usually featured. These fritters are a Sephardic contribution to that tradition.
3/4 cup chopped leek (white and pale green parts only)
2 1/4 cups drained canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas; about 1 1/2 15-ounce cans)
vegetable oil (for frying)
red bell pepper harissa
Cook potatoes in pot of boiling salted water until tender. Drain; refrigerate until cold,about 30 minutes.
Peel potatoes; grate coarsely into large bowl. Mix in leek and cilantro.
Blend garbanzo beans, garlic, cumin, salt, pepper and baking powder in processor until almost smooth. Stir into potato mixture. Mix in 3 tablespoons flour. Using floured hands, shape 2 rounded tablespoons mixture into ball; flatten into 1/2-inch -thick disk, about 2 inches in diameter. Place on lightly floured baking sheet. Repeat with remaining mixture, forming about 24 fritters. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Sprinkle lightly with flour. Cover and refrigerate.)
Pour enough oil into 2 heavy large skillets to reach depth of 1/4 inch. Heat over medium heat until sprinkle of water sizzles in oil. Coat each fritter with flour. Fry fritters until brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels; drain.
Overlap 3 fritters on each plate. Spoon Red Bell Pepper Harissa alongside.