Batata harra is a spicy Middle Eastern potato side dish. It calls for just a few ingredients and is easy to make. Crispy and tender potatoes are tossed in a spicy garlic and cilantro sauce and finished with a squeeze of lemon.
Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines are all about the flavor in every bite. From manakeesh zaatar and roasted eggplant to chicken shawarma and kofta kebab, every Middle Eastern dish is a feast of flavors. These Middle Eastern spicy potatoes are very popular all around the Middle East and I’m going to show you how to make them.
What is batata harra?
Batata harra in Arabic literally translates to “spicy potatoes”. You can find this dish in Lebanon and many Middle Eastern restaurants by names such as spicy potatoes or Lebanese spicy potatoes.
This dish is made of roasted or fried potatoes tossed in a delicious spicy garlic and cilantro sauce and drizzled with lemon juice. It can be served as an appetizer or side dish. This is a simple dish similar to Iranian fried potatoes and onions, also known as di piazeh aloo.
If you’re looking for a new way to enjoy potatoes, give this batata harra recipe a try!
Ingredients and substitutions
Potatoes: You can use russet, golden or yukon potatoes to make this recipe.
Garlic: I like using a lot of garlic to make the sauce, however, you can use fewer cloves if desired.
Tomato paste: It adds some color and flavor to the sauce. Tomato puree cannot be used as a substitute.
Peppers: We're using a combination of chili flakes, cayenne and paprika.
Cilantro: Fresh cilantro adds a lot of flavor to this dish and goes well with the spices as well.
Lemon: Freshly squeezed lemon juice adds brightness to batata harra. You can use bottled if that's what you have.
3 ways to make spicy potatoes
- Fry: Traditionally, the potatoes are deep fried until tender, then shallow fried in the olive oil, garlic and spices.
- Roast: My favorite way to make batata harra. The potatoes are roasted in the oven until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Then they're tossed with the spicy garlic sauce.
- Boil: Another way to make this recipe is to boil the potatoes, cut them into cubes and then shallow fry them in the sauce.
How to make batata harra
- Wash and peel the potatoes. Then cut them into cubes. Preheat the oven and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy clean up. Toss the potatoes with olive oil and arrange them on a baking sheet.
- Roast the potatoes in the oven until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Flip them once halfway so they roast evenly.
- Make the sauce by sauteing the garlic in olive oil. Stir in the peppers and tomato paste. Add the roasted potatoes and cilantro to the toss and give it a good toss.
- Add the lemon juice and serve right away.
Tips to make batata harra
- Don’t overcrowd the sheet pan: The key to crispy roasted potatoes is to have them in a single layer and not to overcrowd the pan.
- Flip the potatoes halfway: To make sure the potatoes are roasting evenly on all sides, flip them once halfway through the roasting using a large spatula.
- Adjust the heat: This recipe has a subtle heat to it so it's not too spicy. However, you can always adjust the spice level. Leave out the cayenne for less spicy, or add more cayenne or even some harissa paste for spicier potatoes.
You can serve these spicy potatoes as part of a mezze platter with some hummus, baba ganoush, muhammara, falafel and dolma. You can also have some toum (Lebanese garlic sauce) on the side to dip the potatoes in.
Batata harra can also be a side to dishes such as garlic chicken, grilled spatchcock chicken, baked chicken, pan seared salmon or baked meatballs.
- Tomato paste: You can leave out the tomato paste if you prefer.
- Air fry: If you have an air fryer, you can try to air fry the potatoes instead of roasting them.
- Harissa: Instead of using cayenne pepper, add some harissa to the sauce. Start with 1 teaspoon and add more if needed.
Leftovers and storage
Batata harra is best served warm and fresh. However, if you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
You can reheat them in an pan over medium heat. Serve them in a pita or lavash with some pickled turnips and tahini sauce for a quick vegetarian lunch. You can also add them to your Mediterranean salad or turn them into a breakfast hash.
Frequently asked questions
I recommend you serve batata harra once it's ready since the potatoes won't be as crispy if they sit out for a while. That being said, you can make the spicy sauce ahead of time.
Depending on the region, these spicy potatoes can go from mild to very hot. Our recipe is not too spicy and it can always be modified to be more or less spicy.
More potato recipes
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Batata Harra (Lebanese Spicy Potatoes)
- 4 russet potatoes
- 4 tablespoon olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon chili flakes
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup cilantro chopped
- 1 lemon juice of
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat it with cooking spray.
- Wash and dry the potatoes. Cut the potatoes into cubes and toss them with 2 tablespoon olive oil. Arrange the potatoes on the baking sheet in a single layer, make sure they're not overlapping.
- Roast the potatoes in the oven for 40 minutes, flip them halfway through using a spatula.
- To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Sauté the garlic for one minute and add the tomato paste, cayenne pepper, paprika and chili flakes. Stir for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the potatoes and chopped cilantro. Give it a stir and add the lemon juice. Serve immediately.
- It's best to serve these potatoes right away, however, if you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Reheat in a pan or the microwave.
- If you like the potatoes spicier, add more cayenne pepper or some harissa. To make less spicy potatoes, reduce the amount of cayenne pepper.
- Don't overcrowd the pan so they potatoes get crispy on all sides.