This batata harra recipe transforms classic roasted potatoes into a super flavorful and delicious side dish! The best part is that you only need very basic ingredients to prepare these incredibly tasty and spicy potatoes. If you love Mediterranean recipes, you absolutely have to try this recipe!
What is batata harra?
Batata harra, which translates to spicy potatoes, is a traditional Lebanese recipe for spicy roasted potatoes. The potatoes are usually either fried or roasted and then tossed in a sauce made with olive oil, garlic, tomato paste, red chili flakes, cilantro, and fresh lemon juice. The final result is an incredibly flavorful potato dish that anyone should try!
You’ll usually find many variations of this recipe as it is widely popular in various Middle Eastern countries, each preparing this dish in its own unique way. I’ll show you a very classic and popular way to make these delicious spicy potatoes and provide you with some tips to adjust them to your taste.
How spicy is batata harra?
Since batata harra recipes use different spices depending on where the recipe originates from, the final result will vary in its heat level. Some recipes are rather mild while others are super spicy.
I would say that this recipe is moderately spicy. You can feel the heat, but it definitely isn’t unpleasant! Most people who love a bit of spice will love this recipe. But I’ll also provide you with some tips so you can adjust the spice level of this dish if necessary. Because even though it’s meant to be hot, this recipe is so much more than that. It is packed with lots of flavor that comes from the other ingredients and I believe that everyone should be able to enjoy this wonderful roasted potato dish!
The ingredients you need for this classic batata harra recipe are super simple and should be easy to find. Here is what you’ll need.
- Potatoes: You can use Russet potatoes or Yukon Golds for this recipe. Just go with the type of potato you prefer.
- Garlic: Garlic is key to this recipe! It gives tons of flavor and is an absolute must.
- Tomato paste: Another ingredient I absolutely love in this dish is tomato paste. You could also use Turkish red pepper paste if you happen to have some on hand.
- Spices: The two spices that make this dish flavorful and spicy are red chili flakes and cayenne pepper. But you can definitely use other spices to make this dish less spicy which I’ll get back to later in this post.
- Cilantro: Another traditional ingredient is cilantro. It makes the potatoes taste super fresh and goes so well with the spices.
- Lemon juice: Lemon juice is added at the end and balances out the flavors in a wonderful way. Definitely don’t skip it!
Three ways to make crispy potatoes for batata harra
To make batata harra, you’ll first have to prepare crispy potato dices. There are three different methods to do this.
- Deep Fry: Most people will deep fry the potatoes so they are super crunchy. Since this method isn’t very healthy, I will usually choose one of the other two methods. But if you feel like trying the most used and traditional method, then this is the way to go.
- Air Fry: This is one of my favorite methods, as it yields super crunchy potatoes. So if you own an air fryer, feel free to use it to prepare the potatoes for this recipe.
- Roast in the oven: This is the method I usually go for to prepare crispy potatoes to make this dish. It is much healthier than deep frying and still makes the potatoes crunchy. Simply roast the potatoes at 450 °F (230 °C) for 20-30 minutes in your oven and flip them after around 10-15 minutes.
How to make batata harra
The other steps for preparing this spicy potato dish are also super simple and easy. Here is an overview of the steps.
- Prepare crispy potatoes: Choose one of the methods you’ll find above and prepare the crispy potatoes you need to make batata harra. I usually roast them in the oven until they are golden brown which takes 20-30 minutes.
- Make the sauce: While the potatoes cook, preheat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Sauté the garlic for 30 seconds. Then add the tomato paste and spices. Sauté until fragrant. The cilantro and lemon juice are added in the end right before you add the potatoes to the sauce.
- Combine: Add the potatoes to the pan and toss until they are coated. Check if you want to add more lemon juice, spices, or salt and pepper. Garnish with more fresh cilantro and enjoy!
Here are some tips I have for you to make sure the spicy potatoes turn out perfectly on the first try.
- Single layer: When you roast the potatoes in the oven, make sure you spread the potatoes so there is a single layer. This allows them to become crispy and golden brown.
- Flip the potatoes: Flip the potatoes once while they are in the oven. The perfect time to flip them is when the bottom side has a light golden brown color. This should be the case after 10-15 minutes.
- Medium heat cooking: When you preheat your pan, use medium or low-medium heat. If you use high heat, you might accidentally burn the garlic which alters the flavor of the dish.
How to adjust the heat level
If you want to adjust the heat level of this recipe, you can use the following spices to create a spice blend that is perfect for you. I love the combination of red chili flakes and cayenne pepper, but definitely feel free to adjust the spices if needed.
- Paprika powder: Paprika powder is a super mild spice that you can use for this recipe. It reduces the heat without sacrificing any flavor.
- Chili powder: Chili powder is spicier than paprika powder, but it is definitely less spicy than cayenne pepper or red chili flakes. As it is usually a spice blend of various chile peppers and other spices like cumin, it adds a bit of spice and lots of flavor.
- Red chili flakes: Depending on the red chili flakes you buy, they can be quite spicy. I always use Turkish pul biber which usually is spicier than the chili flakes you find in regular grocery stores. Just make sure you don’t add too much at once if you haven’t tried the chili flakes you bought before.
- Cayenne pepper: Cayenne pepper is made with purely ground cayenne peppers, making this quite a hot spice. I absolutely love its flavor, but if you don’t like spicy foods, use less of it or skip it entirely.
The great thing about this recipe is that you can add more of the spices after you have transferred the potatoes to the pan. So if you are unsure, just use less of them in the beginning and add more after you have tried the potatoes.
As I mentioned in the beginning, there are many variations of batata harra. Here are some of the most common ones you’ll find. Definitely feel free to go for one of them if that’s what you prefer.
- No tomato paste: One way to change the flavor of this dish is by omitting the tomato paste. I love to add tomato paste, but the potatoes taste great even if you don’t use it!
- Parsley: Another way to switch up the flavor of this dish is by using half parsley and half cilantro. Or by skipping the cilantro completely and only using the parsley. This is especially great if you are one of the people to whom cilantro tastes like soap.
- Less garlic: For some people, the amount of garlic in this recipe might be a bit too much. So absolutely feel free to use less garlic. Just don’t skip it completely, as it is essential for the taste of the recipe.
Serving spicy potatoes
Here are some ideas for serving these spicy potatoes.
- Mezze: Batata harra is traditionally served as part of a mezze alongside other dishes like tabbouleh or hummus. So whip up some of your favorite Mediterranean appetizers and prepare a delicious mezze platter!
- Side Dish: Another way to enjoy batata harra is by serving it as a side dish with chicken or fish and a delicious Mediterranean salad.
- Breakfast: And if you love a savory breakfast, use the spicy potatoes for making a breakfast potato skillet! These spicy potatoes and fried eggs are a match made in heaven!
If you have leftovers, you can store them in your refrigerator in an airtight container for 4-5 days. I recommend reheating them in the oven or pan-frying them, as they tend to be crispier this way. You could also reheat them in the microwave, but the potatoes won’t be as crunchy. Just keep that in mind.
More Mediterranean recipes
If you love Mediterranean recipes as much as I do, check out the following recipes. They are all super delicious, healthy, and taste great!
- Kisir (Turkish Bulgur Salad)
- Mediterranean Potato Salad
- Watermelon Feta Salad
- Turkish Lentil Soup
Batata Harra (Spicy Potatoes)
Crispy Roasted Potatoes
- 2 pounds potatoes peeled and diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 7 garlic cloves minced
- 1 ½ tablespoon tomato paste or red pepper paste
- 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ cup cilantro chopped
- 2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat your oven to 450 °F (230 °C).
- Add the potatoes, olive oil, and salt to a bowl and toss to coat. Transfer them to a baking sheet and spread them in one singly layer. Roast the potatoes for 20-30 minutes until they are golden brown. Flip them after 10-15 minutes so they brown evenly.
- Preheat some olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Shortly sauté the garlic. Then add the tomato paste and spices, and sauté until fragrant. Add half of the cilantro and the lemon juice.
- At this point, the potatoes should be ready. Add them to the sauce and toss until they are coated.
- Check if you want to add more lemon juice, spices, or salt and pepper. Garnish with the remaining cilantro and serve!
- Heat level: You can easily adjust the heat level of this dish. Check out the post for more tips.