Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Batata Harra, or Spicy (Sweet) Potatoes

Lebanese food is everywhere in Montreal. When I am feeling a bit lazy in the kitchen, my husband and I will go to a restaurant that serves a plate with grilled kafta, which is ground lamb, batata harra (spicy potatoes) and fatouche, a salad made with tomatoes, cucumber, bell peppers, onions and parsley. I have adapted a recipe for the spicy potatoes in this crave-worthy combination.

This Lebanese dish is traditionally made with twice fried white potatoes. My version is made with sweet potatoes, which I parboil, then bake. For dinner the other night, my husband and I had these alongside some grilled lamb sausages and salad. The next day, I used the leftover potatoes to make my lunch by plating them with some baby romaine leaves, fresh green beans for crunch and a drizzle of lemon juice.     

2 large sweet potatoes, cubed
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Juice from 1/2 of a lemon

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large pot, bring enough salted water to cover the potatoes to a boil. Add the potatoes and boil for 7 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander. Shake the colander to gently break the edges of the potatoes. This will give the spicy sauce a surface to cling to more easily. Combine the ingredients for the sauce while the potatoes steam dry.

In a large bowl, mix the spices, garlic and oil. Add the potatoes into the spice rub and use a wooden spoon to mix and coat evenly.  

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the potatoes over the baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 40 minutes.

Dress the potatoes with the chopped parsley and drizzle the lemon juice over. Serve immediately.

Serves 4 as a side.

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