Most people don't need much convincing to choose potatoes as the side dish to a meal and most cuisines have at least a few potato recipes. Batata Harra is a Lebanese dish which literally translates to spiced potatoes. The recipe can vary with the addition of other vegetables but usually includes garlic, chili and coriander/cilantro.
The potatoes are usually fried but boiling or steaming them first produces a nicer texture with a creamy soft interior and crispy outside. The spice comes from chili paste and you can control it based on your tolerance. One tablespoon of the paste gives a mild to medium kick as well as adding flavor. If you don't like fresh cilantro, try using dried coriander and/or fresh parsley but the herbs are needed to lighten the dish.
- 1 lb. Baby new potatoes (red or yellow)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Cloves garlic
- 1 Tablespoon chili paste (or to taste)
- 1/4 Cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Salt to taste
Add the potatoes to a large pot of salted boiling water and cook until just fork tender. If you're using the small potatoes, there's no need to peel them. Drain and slice in half.
Add the olive oil and garlic to a cast iron pan and saute for a minute, just until the garlic is slightly translucent. Do not burn it or it will become bitter.
Add the cooked potatoes to the pan and stir to coat them in the olive oil and garlic.
Saute on medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the chili paste and continue sauteing for an additional 15 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and season with additional salt, if needed.