Batata harra is a Lebanese potatoes dish featuring pan fried potatoes with spicy cilantro sauce. Make this easy recipe for a tasty side dish!
Potatoes are one of the most accessible and easy to use ingredients, and it doesn’t hurt that they’re budget friendly and nutritious, too. They’re a starchy carbohydrate, but also packed with fiber and essential minerals.
Many people associate the tuber with side dishes like mashed or creamy scalloped potatoes , but the humble veggie is great for other parts of your meal!
Cuisine: Middle Eastern / Lebanese
The use of bright fresh herbs and citrus can be found in the dressing for my Lebanese salad recipe, and of course, in today’s recipe for Lebanese potatoes, too.
Pronunciation: ba·ta·ta harr·a
Course: Side dish
Preparation: Pan fried
Difficulty: Easy 🥄
Description: Chunks of potato seasoned with Lebanese spices, pan fried until crispy, then drizzled with spicy cilantro sauce.
Ingredient notes and substitutions
Best potatoes for pan frying
Out of the hundreds of potato varieties, there are two types of potatoes; waxy, thin skinned and starchy thick skinned.
Thin skinned potatoes are the best choice for pan frying, with white potatoes being the absolute best choice. If you can’t find white potatoes, yellow (also known as Yukon Gold) or fingerling potatoes are good choices.
Russet potatoes are better for deep frying, but they will work for this Lebanese potatoes recipe. If you do use them, peel them.
Making spicy cilantro sauce
Typically the cilantro, garlic and spices are tossed together with the fried potatoes, not pureed, but I prefer it as a sauce to coat the potatoes.
If you have an immersion blender (also known as a stick blender), it's the best tool to use for making the sauce. If you don't have one, a blender or small food processor will do.
Cilantro has a little bite, but it's not spicy. What really gives the punch of heat to the batata harra sauce is red pepper flakes. If you aren't a fan of spicy food, or you like lots of spicy heat, simply use more or less pepper flakes to suit your tastes.
Tips for perfect pan fried Lebanese potatoes
- Monitor the burner heat.
The trick to pan frying anything is controlling the burner heat. If the pan and oil are too hot, the outside of the potato is likely to burn before the inside cooks through.
You'll have the best chance for success keeping the heat on the lower side of medium than on medium-high. This is especially true if you use a cast iron or stainless steel pan, as they are great at retaining heat.
- Use similar size pieces.
With oval and round vegetables, cutting consistent sizes is sometimes easier said than done! Just do the best you can to keep the potato chunks as close in size. as possible.
- Parboil potatoes if possible.
While it's completely okay to pan fry potatoes without boiling them, there is a risk that the outsides will burn before the flesh inside cooks through.
For the best chance of success, chop the potatoes and put them into a pot of boiling water for 2 minutes first. Then, drain them in a colander while you preheat the oil in your frying pan.
Batata Harra FAQ
When making batata harra, parboiling the potatoes helps to ensure that the inside cooks completely. Otherwise, it's easy for them to burn on the outside and still be raw on the inside.
Batata Harra (Lebanese Potatoes)
- 2 lbs yellow potatoes cut into ¾" cubes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 cup cilantro
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp red chili flakes
- 1 lemon juiced (about 3-4 tablespoons)
- Using a blending wand/stick or blender puree the cilantro, oil, garlic, paprika, red chili flakes and ½ of the lemon juice until smooth.
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Carefully add the potatoes to skillet, and pan fry for about 15 minutes or until golden brown, turning often.
- Turn heat to low and pour half of the cilantro sauce over cooked potatoes. Toss to coat and cook several minutes.
- Transfer potatoes to a serving dish. Garnish with remaining cilantro sauce, fresh cilantro leaves (optional), and squeeze remaining half of lemon juice over the potatoes before serving.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.