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    Lebanese Batata Harra

    Batata Harra – How do you like your potatoes? Baked, fried, mashed? Would you like to try them with a punch of flavors like garlic… warm spices like red chili flakes, and turmeric… handfuls of different herbs like cilantro, parsley and dill, along with a good splash of fresh lemon?

    I give my regular humble potatoes an exotic makeover. Try my Lebanese batata harra, and enjoy the tastes and flavors of the Middle East!

    batata harra in a red bowl

    I grew up eating potatoes in everything and anything. Mostly always spiced up, sometimes tempered just by themselves, sometimes mixed with other vegetables or meats. Curried, stewed, fried… you ask for it, it’s there!

    So when I came across these Lebanese spiced potatoes, I was all itching to try them. And, boy, though we have something similar in Indian cuisine, I was blown over by the simple yet in your face flavors. All you need is a few basic ingredients you usually have in the pantry.

    batata harra in a small copper bowl

    What is Batata Harra?

    This is a popular Lebanese side dish frequently that finds its place in their elaborate mezze or appetizer spreads. Though it’s Lebanese in origin, it is very widely known in many other Levantine and Middle Eastern countries, with little variations in ingredients or methods or even the level of hotness.

    Batata harra, sometimes spelled batata harrah, is an Arabic phrase literally meaning hot or spicy potatoes. This side dish can be served as an appetizer and also and goes wonderfully with their meats and mains. It can even be your little herbed and spiced salad.

    batata harra in a red bowl

    It’s actually nothing but a little twist on your regular roasted or fried potatoes created by mixing them with a special sauce of garlic, spices and herbs.

    When the potatoes get coated with this saucy mixture, you will notice that distinct little heat from chilies, and the freshness and brightness from all the herbs and lemon juice.

    Ingredients Needed

    ingredients for batata harra
    • Potatoes – The star. Use whatever you happen to have around, of whatever your favorite variety is. Each will be a little different. I have tried Idahos, russet, Yukon gold.
    • Extra virgin olive oil – The base for the sauce.
    • Garlic – Mmm, sounding good already!
    • Lemon juice – Freshly squeezed.
    • Spices – Coriander seeds, turmeric powder and red chili flakes.
    • Fresh herbs – Cilantro, parsley and dill. Lots!
    • Salt and Pepper – To taste.
    diced fresh herbs on a cutting board

    How to Cook the Potatoes

    I will be cooking the potatoes first, before mixing and coating them with the harra sauce. Then there are three cooking methods:

    Boil and Fry: This is the guilt-free way of cooking my potatoes, as it reduces the fat and calorie count. I make it this way quite often. I put my potatoes into a large pan and cover them with cold water. I bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium.

    They usually cook in 10-20 minutes, depending on the size, but I check frequently by poking with a knife. I want them cooked, but not falling apart.

    Once the potatoes are boiled, I let them cool enough to handle (this can be sped up by running cold water over them in a colander) and chop them into bite-sized pieces. Then, I shallow fry them with the harra sauce.

    diced potatoes on a cutting board

    Double Fry. This is the most traditional Lebanese way of cooking the potatoes for harra. I peel and cut the potatoes into bite-sized pieces. In a large frying pan, I heat ½ inch of cooking oil over high heat.

    I add the potatoes and fry them until they are a nice crispy golden brown. Then, either in a separate pan or the same pan drained of oil, I shallow fry them with the harra sauce. (This is my favorite method)

    fried potato chunks on a paper towel

    Roast and Toss. First, I peel and cut the potatoes. Then, I coat them with olive oil and salt and place them on a sheet pan. I roast them in an oven, preheated to 450°F, for about 30 minutes, turning halfway through. Finally, I toss them with the harra sauce.

    How to Make the Sauce

    coriander seeds being crushed with a mortar and pestle

    EASY!! I crush my coriander seeds (I use my mortar and pestle) and chop my garlic and herbs. Then, I just sauté the garlic, crushed coriander seeds, crushed red chili flakes, and turmeric powder in extra virgin olive oil for a minute or two over medium-high heat. I add in fresh lemon juice, and it’s ready to go!

    garlic and spices sauteing in olive oil

    Now I add the cooked potatoes and half of my fresh chopped herbs. I toss everything together and season with salt and pepper to taste.

    To serve, I garnish with more cilantro, parsley, and dill. 

    cooked spiced potatoes topped with chopped fresh herbs

    Serving Suggestions

    As a side dish, this goes great with any Middle Eastern mains and entrées like Shish Tawook or Kofta. It is an excellent vegetarian dish on its own. I love to create an amazing mezze platter with this, along with Falafel and dips like Hummus, Moutabal and Baba Ganoush. Or just munch it as a potato salad!

    batata harra in a red bowl

    Alpana’s Tips

    • Cutting Potatoes Uniformly: I make sure my potatoes are cut into even pieces for consistent cooking. Bite-sized pieces are perfect because they get more of that delicious harra sauce.
    • Pre-Cooking Potatoes: I boil my potatoes before frying or roasting to get a soft inside and crispy outside. I’m careful not to overboil them; they need to be firm enough for the next step.
    • Adjusting the Heat: Batata Harra is known for its spiciness, which comes from the red chili flakes. Feel free to adjust the amount of chili to suit your taste. Start with less if you’re sensitive to heat and add more if you crave that extra kick.
    • Don’t Skimp on the Herbs: This dish benefits greatly from the generous use of cilantro, parsley, and dill. These herbs add layers of freshness that balance the spices beautifully. If you’re not fond of one of these herbs, feel free to substitute or adjust proportions to your liking.
    batata harra in a copper bowl

    Another brilliant idea… Try your regular French fries coated with this harra sauce… it’s YUMMO!!

    Get ready to try these new flavors on your every day potatoes, guys! I assure you it’s so addictive you will come back for more! While you’re here, be sure to check out my roundups of Potato Recipes and Mediterranean Recipes.

    Lebanese Batata Harra, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!

    batata harra on the gypsy plate

    Try these other great Middle Eastern Recipes:
    Tabbouleh Salad
    Chicken Shawarma
    Shakshuka
    Menemen
    Hashweh
    Balela Salad

    featured image for batata harra post

    Lebanese Batata Harra

    Yield: 6 servings
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 20 minutes
    Total Time: 30 minutes

    Add an exotic twist to your everyday potatoes with this Lebanese delight. Packed full of flavors, if you love fresh herbs this batata harra may be your new favorite side dish.

    Ingredients

    • 6 potatoes
    • 4 garlic cloves
    • 2 tsp crushed coriander seeds
    • 1 tsp crushed red chili flakes
    • ½ tsp turmeric powder
    • 1 lemon, juiced
    • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 cup fresh cilantro, divided
    • 1 cup fresh dill, divided
    • 1 cup fresh parsley, divided
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    Instructions

    For the potatoes

    Cook according to your preferred method below.

    Boiling method:

    1. Put your potatoes in a large pan and cover with cold water.
    2. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium. Do not cover.
    3. Check frequently by poking with a knife. They should be cooked but not falling apart. About 10-20 minutes, depending on size
    4. Once cool enough to handle, peel and cut into bit sized pieces.

    Frying method:

    1. In a large frying pan, heat 1/2 inch cooking oil over high heat.
    2. Peel potatoes and cut into bite sized pieces.
    3. Add potatoes and fry them until they are a nice crispy golden brown.

    Roasting Method:

    1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
    2. Peel potatoes and cut into bite sized pieces.
    3. Coat chopped potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper and place on a sheet pan.
    4. Place in oven and roast 30 minutes, turning half way through.


    For the harra:

    1. Crush coriander seeds and chop garlic and herbs.
    2. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium high heat.Add garlic, coriander seeds, turmeric and red chili flakes. Satué 1-2 minutes.
    3. Add potatoes, lemon juice, and half cup each of dill, cilantro and parsley. Toss well.
    4. Serve garnished with remaining herbs.

    Notes

    Leftovers: Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave or in a skillet over medium heat. I do not recommend freezing leftovers, as the potatoes lose their texture fairly quickly.

    Nutrition Information
    Yield 6 Serving Size 1
    Amount Per Serving Calories 234Total Fat 7gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 0mgSodium 75mgCarbohydrates 39gFiber 5gSugar 2gProtein 5g

    Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.

    Did you make this recipe?

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    Picture of Alpana, blogger and recipe developer at GypsyPlate

    Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.

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