Cooking Latkes with the YouTube Cooking Sensation: Sarah Hesselman

On my first meeting with Lisa prior to the filming of the show, she spoke about her second mom and played a YouTube video of Sarah Hesselman preparing Gelifte Fish…

She didn’t know she was being filmed as Lisa was using the camera on her Macbook laptop.  The video has over 10 000 hits!  It’s hilarious! Go Sarah!

Sarah is Khoi San but she is a master of South African Jewish food.  She started working for Lisa’s family when she was 19 years old and she never left.   She is practically a member of the family.   She is opinionated and not shy to speak her mind.  Another thing that makes her cooking interesting is that she doesnt’ take herself to seriously, she knows her recipes from the top of her head and One of the things she was saying during the time we cooked together is “the children today dont know how to cook, they don’t cook like the old days”  LOL!

Lisa kindly asked her to show me how to prepare one of her Jewish recipes, Latkes.  What are Latkes?  You might wonder.  They are a Jewish version of potato fritters prepared using onions and chicken fat.  Initially, Sarah hated the idea of having cameras following her while cooking (that’s why the youtube video was shot using a laptop camera in the first place…she didn’t know she was being filmed).  Her excuse as she puts it “I’m ugly” LOL!  Now you are the judge, does that look like an ugly face?

The recipe is fairly easy to prepare and it is not time consuming at all.  I also got to meet Lisa’s mom, Irma, she shared some interesting recipes with me.  I’ll be posting them on the blog at a later stage.  According to Irma, Latkes are usually served at Jewish weddings as a appetisers.  Read more about Sarah and watch her preparing Gelifte fish here.

Sarah Latkes

Makes 12

1 onion, finely

2 potatoes, coarsely grated

1 egg

80 – 100ml flour

1½ heaped tsps Smaltz (chicken fat)

White pepper

Pinch of salt

1 sprig parsley, optional


  1. Peel and grate onion and potatoes.
  2. Mix together all the ingredients in a bowl, including chicken fat.
  3. Strain out the liquid.
  4. Heat oil in a saucepan.  Put spoonfuls of the Latke mixture into the pan.
  5. Heat until golden brown on both sides.  Transfer onto a kitchen towel to drain the oil.

Sarah and Irma’s Tips:

  •  Mix cinnamon and sugar.
  • They can also be served with meat, fish and soup.




About Author


Thuli Gogela is a Food Technologist with 8 years of experience developing products in food manufacturing. She is dedicated to discovering wholesome traditional dishes and recipes with a distinctive taste from different parts of the African continent. Thuli is well known for her food blog, Mzansi Style Cuisine which was established in 2010. She saw a gap in the traditional food market that people were hungry for. From there, it didn’t take long to build her brand. In 2013, she started writing a recipe column for the Cape Times for and has collaborated with some of the biggest brands in South Africa namely, Knorr, Nedeburg Wines, First Choice and Spekko rice. Not only does Thuli feature traditional African dishes, she’s also open to developing recipes, food consultations and brand collaborations.

Comments ( 4 )

  • This is so awesome Thuli, I love the old heritage recipe, no matter what culture we are dealing with!

    • I agree with you Nina! You’ve got to love our heritage! xxx

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