How Do You Like Your Batatas?: Different Ways to Make Potatoes in the Arab World
By: Leyelle Mosallam / Arab America Contributing Writer
Every culture has very distinct dishes containing potatoes. In the Arab world, there are many different ways you can make potatoes. These dishes can be categorized as “comfort foods” because they can be eaten at any time of the day and they make great appetizers and snacks. One of the most common ways to make potatoes in the Arab world is to cut them into cubes and fry them. And, of course, Arabs often serve pita bread with their potatoes. Potatoes can also be made into a spread and can be mixed with various spices. Here are some of the most popular dishes with potatoes in the Arab world.
Batata Harra, which literally translates to “spicy potatoes,” is one of the most popular dishes in the Arab world. Batata Harra is a must try dish. The potatoes are packed with a ton of flavor that will leave you hungry for more. It is also a fairly simple dish to make.
- Chili flakes
- Cut up the potatoes into cubes
- Chop up the cilantro in a food processor
- Deep fry your cubed potatoes
- In a skillet, heat up the olive oil, paprika, salt, chili flakes, and garlic.
- Once your potatoes are fried and crispy, toss them in the skillet with all the spices.
- As soon as your potatoes are nicely seasoned, add the cilantro, drizzle some lemon on top, and you are ready to serve!
Batata ma Lahmeh (Potatoes with Meat)
Batata MA Lahmeh translates to “potatoes with meat”. This dish is also called Mfarakeh Batata. This dish is another simple meal to make. A popular way to make this dish is to fry the potatoes like how Batata Harra is made; however, others may cook the potatoes in a pot. This is a very warm and comforting meal that can be made at any time of the day. It is also the perfect meal that is packed with carbs and protein. The dish is often served with lemon and pita bread. Here is how you make it:
- Minced beef (ground beef)
- Vegetable oil
- Black pepper
- All spices
- Seven spices
- Cut up the potatoes into cubes and put them to the side.
- Grab your minced beef and put cook it in a pot with vegetable oil until it is fine.
- Once the beef is cooked add your diced potatoes to the pot of minced beef.
- Add black pepper, salt, all spices, and seven spices to the potatoes and beef, and mix them together.
- Keep stirring every few minutes until the beef and potatoes are cooked all the way through.
Batata ma Bayd (Potatoes With Eggs)
Batata ma Bayd translates to “potatoes with eggs.” Batata ma Bayd can also be called Mfarakah as well. Eating potatoes with eggs is a very common breakfast dish to eat around the world, but Arabs make the dish a bit differently in the Middle East. While some Arabs might make this dish with diced potatoes and cook the eggs and potatoes separately, others like to cook the dish all together in a pan.
- Olive oil
- In a pot sauté your onions with olive oil. Don’t let them brown.
- As the onions are cooking, dice up your potatoes.
- Add the potatoes to the pot and stir the potatoes and onions together. Add salt to the mixture as well.
- While the potatoes are cooking, grab a skillet and cook your eggs. The eggs should be scrambled.
- Once the potatoes are softened and the eggs are cooked, combine the two together in a large plate.
- Grab some pita bread, drizzle some olive oil on top, and you’re ready to serve.
When most people hear kibbeh they think of Kibbeh niyyah (raw meat) or Kibbeh Maklieh, which is cooked kibbeh that is often shaped into little footballs; however, Kibbet Batata can be seen as the vegan version of kibbeh. The reason why Kibbet Batata is named after kibbeh is that the same ingredients used to make Kibbeh are also used to make Kibbet Batata, but we are just substituting the beef for potatoes. Kibbet Batata is a popular southern Lebanese dish due to the special kibbeh spice called “Kamouneh.”
- Kamouneh Spice (cumin, paprika, whole marjoram, dried roses, black pepper, and salt)
- The first thing you need to do is boil your potatoes.
- Once your potatoes are boiled and cooled, mash the potatoes.
- Add the Bulgur and the Kamouneh spice and mix them together with the bulgur.
- Spread your kibbet batata onto the plate
Like Kibbe Nayyeh, Kibbet Batata can be served with olive oil on top, radish, mint, cucumber, tomato, and pita bread.