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Batata Harra | Lebanese Twice Cooked Potatoes

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.

A bowl of batata Harra.

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly. – M.F.K. Fisher

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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

Ingredients for Batata Harra.
This dish uses simple, easy-to-find ingredients.
A pan of baked potato cubes.
Bake the potatoes first to ensure they are cooked through.
Garlic in a skillet.
In a medium-low heat skillet add garlic and chili paste to release their flavors.
Cilantro stirred into a skillet with garlic.
Add the cilantro.
Stirring cilantro in a skillet with garlic.
Stir and cook for one minute being careful not to burn the garlic.
Stirring potatoes in a skillet.
Add potatoes. Done.
Batata Harra in a white bowl.
Sprinkle with fresh lime juice when serving.
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A bowl of cooked potatoes with herbs.

Batata Harra | Lebanese Twice Cooked Potatoes

Yield: 10 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

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.

Ingredients

  • 3 lb of waxy potatoes such as red, Yukon gold, Maine, peeled and cubed to about 1/3 inch
  • cooking spray
  • 1/3 cup plus 3 Tbs olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp chili paste (I used sambal oelek)
  • 1 large handful of chopped cilantro
  • 3 tbs fresh lime juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil or a silpat and spray with cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl mix the potatoes, 3 Tbs olive oil, salt and pepper and lay out on baking sheet making an even layer.
  4. Bake in oven until fork tender, about 35-45 minutes, set aside.
  5. In a large skillet over low-medium heat, when the pan is hot, add the remaining olive oil, garlic, and chili paste.  Stir and cook for one minute being careful not to burn the garlic (garlic can burn easily and becomes bitter).  Add the cilantro and potatoes, stir.
  6. Cook for 3-5 more minutes until the outside becomes crispy, take of heat and serve.
  7. Drizzle a little fresh squeezed lime juice on each serving.

Notes

  • You may also use a higher heat, neutral  cooking oil such as canola, sunflower or grapeseed oil.
  • Any chili paste will do.  Korean Gochujang has a slightly smoky taste and would be great in this dish.  
  • You can boil the cubed potatoes instead of baking, they may come out less crisp when pan-frying but will be just as delicious.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 184Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 308mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 4g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Hannah

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!!!

Tina

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:)

David

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.

Bianca

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.

Laura

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!

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