Food | Persian Pancake Battles Lithuanian Latke

Jewish potato latke takes on fried Persian kuku
Certain nefarious do-gooders may be trying to bring peace and understanding to global conflicts, but some differences just can’t be reconciled.
While many Jews this season feast on their favourite tantalizing tuber, the latka, Persians are cooking up their own succulent spud.   Heard of kuku?  The Hebrews and the Iranians* each believe that their batch is unbeatable. This Chanuka, Shtetl is settling some scores;  two peoples, two patties – sounds like a recipe for **tsuris or darde sar.  This year (2012, 5776, as well as 1391), Montreal’s hottest fried potato pancake contest was held at La Khaima,  a restaurant known for its Mauritanian desert hospitality (i.e., neutral ground).  Spatulas in hand, Niloufar Hedjazi and Dana Zidulka were primed to batter the competition.

The rules were simple:

  • No Jewish or Iranian judges.
  • No distracting the judges with elaborate mosaics.
  • No kvetching.
Who would win this contest of international magnitude?

While the frying pans were still sputtering, our warriors stepped forward for the typically painful post-battle hug.  Oddly, Niloufar and Dana seemed to be genuinely getting along.  There was even talk about exchanging recipes and “hanging out”.

 What’s wrong with these people!?!
* Apparently there are some Persian Jews, but we’ll ignore that small inconvenience.
** “Tsuris” and “darde sar “ are the Yiddish and Farsi equivalents of “some f**d-up stuff is going down”.
Written & Directed by Lainie Basman, Tamara Kramer & Marty Zidulka.
Extra special thanks to Niloufar Hedjaz, Dana Zidulka, Atigh Ould (owner of Restaurant La Khaima), Sabir,  Billy Mavreas (Co-owner of Monastiraki), Khalifa Hammadi  &  The Mile-End Teenage Tasting Society – Jonah Lowry, Ellis Martin,  Carlos Bober,  Yocoyani Badillo and Jacob Zidulka.  And for Christ’s sake, have a kuku this Chanuka. It’s good for you!