batata harra

i’ve always loved arab inspired meals. so much so, that as a kid i celebrated one of my teenage birthdays with a 1001 nights themed bash at home. my closest girlfriends were invited for a lavish (home-cooked) dinner, complete with samovars full of sweet mint tea, plates and plates of home-made mezze and flatbreads. we spread out the cushions to sit on the floor while some belly dance music was playing in the background. it sure was one of the nights to remember.

if you know anything about mezze, then you’ve probably heard of batata harra. batata harra is the most essential mezze dish. no mezze night without batata harra! the lemony crunchiness of them is so good. it’s so good i want to eat them when i’m alone, so that i don’t have to share them with anyone. though i agree that a mezze are generally more fun when in company… so i’d recommend you make them for a social dinner night, and for a lonely tv night (because they’re also good eaten cold). so there will be no tears later. smart, eh?

batata harra – arab fried potatoe cubes with lemon and coriander
4 -5 large potatoes, peeled, cut into cubes and patted dry
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch fresh coriander leaves, minced
generous pinch fleur de sel
1/2 tbsp. ground coriander seeds
1 tbsp. turmeric
1/2 tbsp. cayenne pepper
1 lemon, juice

fry the potato cubes in the olive oil until crunchy (this will likely take 20 to 30 minutes, be patient and make sure to reduce the heat to low so as not to burn them). then, add the garlic, coriander leaves and seeds, turmeric, cayenne pepper and salt and continue to fry for half a minute. take from the flame and pour the lemon juice over the potatoes. serve tepid.

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