Batata Harra is a twice cooked potato Lebanese dish flavored with olive oil, cilantro, chili paste, garlic and lime juice. Crispy on the outside and pillowy soft on the inside. Easy to make without specialized ingredients.
Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly. – M.F.K. Fisher
Why I Love Middle Eastern Cooking
Middle eastern food may be the most rewarding cuisine to discover in my culinary adventures. The ingredients are easy to find and the cooking methods are fundamentally basic. While having good technique will make your middle eastern dishes taste better and have better texture, you don’t need specialized training to master the cuisine.
The cuisine is mostly stewed, baked or barbecued. There are some techniques it would pay to master such as how to properly mix the meat for a Persian kebab so that it stays on the skewer when it is barbecued. Overall, not complicated and if you have a lovely friend that knows middle eastern cooking to be your guide then you will be a master in no time
One of the characteristics of this cuisine that stands out to me is the amount of fresh herbs used. It isn’t sprinkled on as a garnish but rather handfuls of fresh parsley and cilantro are tossed in.
Also the use of fresh lemon or lime juice at the end of many dishes impart a freshness to it that speaks quality.
If there is a long list of ingredients in a certain dish, chances are over half of them are spices. While middle eastern cuisine is spicy, it isn’t that hot, at least not Korean or Thai hot. Most of the spices are warm spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, cumin and coriander.
This potato dish uses only a few spices, a large handful of finely chopped cilantro and fresh lime juice. The potatoes are first baked to cook the potatoes through and then quickly pan fried in the spices and cilantro to crisp the outside. This results in perfectly cooked Lebanese potatoes that are packed with flavor.
Batata Harra means spicy potatoes in Arabic where they borrowed the word for potatoes from the Portugues. So far this spicy Lebanese dish is my favorite potato dish.
What Type of Potato for Batata Harra
You can use any potato but each type has its own characteristics. I used a lower starch red potato in this dish as it holds it’s shape better. Basically I would recommend not using the starchy potatoes used for mashing.
If that’s all you have then by all means use them, they might just get a little too soft for frying but they will taste just as great. For more on potatoes, there is an article on how to bake a potato that goes into a little detail on the potato types.
How to Cook Batata Harra Step by Step
More Middle Eastern Recipes
- Middle Eastern Kofta – Little, spicy meatloaves.
- Chicken Shawarma – A garlicky chicken wrap.
- Toum Sauce – A lebanese garlicky sauce for shawarmas, sandwiches and wraps.
- Muhammara Dip – A robust red pepper dip you can make in 5 minutes.
- Cilbur – A Turkish egg recipe.
- Aleppo Lamb and Potatoes – A great way to fry up some tasty lamb chops.
- Mana’eesh – A Middle Eastern flatbread.
- Moroccan Harira Soup – This wonderful soup will nourish your body and your spirit, a traditional Moroccan soup.
- Lebanese Beef Fatayer – A Lebanese meat pie.
- Batata Vada – An Indian potato turnover/dumpling flavored with ginger, turmeric, cilantro and lime juice.
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Saturday 29th of December 2018
You had me at spicy potatoes! These were fantastic!! And I’m loving the back story/history of all these dishes!!!
Wednesday 2nd of January 2019
I think these twice cooked potatoes are my favorite of all time. The double cooking makes the inside soft and pillowy and the outside is crispy. The flavors are fresh and spice too:)
Tuesday 25th of December 2018
Spicy potatoes are the best, seriously. I think I'll make a big batch of these. Really love the idea of cooking these twice. The texture is almost as important as the taste. Great suggestions.
Sunday 23rd of December 2018
I love middle eastern food. You're right, it's really approachable. Anyone with basic cooking skills can be comfortable with this cuisine. The robust flavors without it being too hot is perfect. These potatoes look and sound amazing, I think twice cooked potatoes are totally worth it.
Sunday 23rd of December 2018
I am definitely going to make this to re-heat all week. I am always in the mood for potatoes, in fact if there was such a thing, cheese and potatoes would be my spirit food. This looks amazing and I am not going to wait to try this. Busy weeks are hectic and I love good leftovers. Thanks for this!