1 1⁄2 cups shredded zucchini OR shredded, peeled beets2 cups shredded potatoes 1⁄2 small, diced sweet onion (e.g. spring or Vidalia onion) 1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour 4 tablespoons cornstarch 1⁄2 teaspoon salt Freshly ground black pepper 1 to 4 tablespoons water Cooking spray or canola oil Plain yogurt or sour cream (optional)
If making the zucchini version, shred the zucchini first, and place it in a strainer set over a bowl. Add a pinch of salt, and toss the zucchini shreds to combine. Set aside for 15 minutes. Then, squeeze handfuls of zucchini shreds in your hands, over the strainer, to remove any excess water, and blot with a towel.
Mix together potatoes, zucchini or beets, and onions in a large bowl. Stir in the flour, cornstarch, salt, and pepper, until well combined. If there are still visible spots of dry flour in your vegetable mixture, add water by the tablespoon until the flour is all moistened. (If using juicy zucchini, it may not be necessary to add any water. For beet pancakes, I used about 2 to 3 tablespoons water.)
Heat a large, heavy frying pan over medium heat. Spray the bottom of the pan with cooking oil, or add 1 tablespoon of canola oil. Take a small handful of the vegetable mixture into your hand. Clump it into a ball, and then press it between your palms into a thick patty. Don’t worry if your latkes seem fragile at this point, they cook up into a sturdy treat as they fry.
Put the latke on the frying pan, and then press it thinner using the back of a metal spatula. Cook latkes in batches to avoid crowding the pan. Allow to fry for a 4 to 6 minutes on each side, until golden. Press them with a spatula again after flipping. Serve piping hot. Top with plain yogurt or sour cream.