Sweet Potato Pancakes with Chive Dipping Sauce

This recipe is probably the most requested of all the things I make, but it’s not my own: the original comes from Orna and Ella in Tel Aviv, and there are tons of reproductions of their recipe online, including this one from Food 52, which is the basis for the one I’m sharing here. The sauce is really versatile, and can be used as a dip for veggies or pita, or spooned onto nachos in the place of regular old sour cream. It’s also really great on fish.


  • Some sweet potatoes or yams (this time I used 7 small sweet potatoes, each 5-6″ long, and they made about 20 pancakes; I have also used 3 or 4 regular ones to make about the same amount)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari, for the gluten-free option
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt for the pancake batter, and some more salt to season the dipping sauce
  • Flour or gluten-free flour to thicken the mixture: about 1 cup to start, but you will probably need more
  • Olive oil for frying
  • 2 cups sour cream (you can also use Greek yogurt)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • A bunch of chives (amount depends on how chive-y you’d like it)

This one takes some time and getting used to, but it’s really worth it. Peel and chop your sweet potatoes into small cubes, and boil them until they are soft (you should be able to crush them with a fork with minimal effort). Drain the potatoes and blot some of the liquid off with paper towels. Let them cool a bit and return them to the pot, or to a bowl, for mixing. Add the soy sauce, salt, and sugar, and mix.

Now you’ll have to judge a bit with the flour: start by adding 1 cup, mix it, and then go from there. You’ll want the end result to be wet, but not too sticky or thin. It should adhere well to itself, and you should be able to take a lump in your hand, shape it into a 1/4″-thick oval, and drop said oval from the palm of your hand directly into the pan (you might have to wiggle your fingers a bit to get this to work). The flour should be completely mixed in, and the batter should not be dry in the least. You can always try one pancake and see about adding more flour once you know how it’s going to behave on the hob. The pictures above should give some indication of the consistency I’m going for: you can even see the imprint of my fingers on the pancakes in the shot of them in the pan!

Now do exactly what you did in your test-run: shape the batter into small, flat ovals, and drop them one-by-one from your hand into a pan which has been heated for a few minutes on medium heat. Keep the pan at medium heat, but turn it down to low heat if anything starts to burn. Once your pan is at max capacity (but the pancakes are evenly spaced and there is enough room in the pan for you to turn them with a spatula), add a teaspoon of olive oil to the panGrab the handle and swirl the olive oil around between and underneath the pancakes. Wait about a minute, maybe two, until the undersides of the pancakes are browned (or as dark as you like them). Then flip each one and cook the other side until it is the same color as the first. Place each pan’s worth on a sheet of paper towel on a plate, layering the contents of the next few pans on paper towels on top of each other, to absorb the excess oil.

For the sauce, mix the sour cream, chives, and mayonnaise, and add salt to taste (I’d put about a teaspoon in for the quantity given here). Refrigerate the sauce until you need it. Serve the pancakes warm or at room temperature with the sauce. Phew!

I like to serve these as a cocktail food at parties, or as a side-dish with salmon (the sauce will double for that, too).

2 thoughts on “Sweet Potato Pancakes with Chive Dipping Sauce

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