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 for heat. One tablespoon of the paste gives a mild to medium kick as well as adding a great deal of good flavor. If you're one of those people who don't like fresh cilantro, try using dried coriander and/or fresh parsley but don't skip the herbs. They are needed to lighten the dish and brighten the flavor.
- 1 lb. Baby new potatoes (either red or yellow)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 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 for about 10 minutes or until just fork tender. If you're using the small potatoes, there's no need to peel them. Or you can choose to peel them after they've cooked and cooled as the peel will come off easier then. Drain the potatoes and slice in half or quarters depending on the size.
Add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and minced garlic to a cast iron pan and saute for a minute, just until the garlic is slightly translucent.
Do not allow the garlic to burn 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.