Libyan M'battan is a specialty dish that is loved. It has several different names like mubattan, m'battan or batata mbatna. It is made with potatoes that are sliced in such a way that they become a vessel for the delicious minced meat stuffing. I used a combination of lamb and beef for the filling. They are a special treat made often during Ramadan. They are a bit labor intensive to make but worth it for the meat and potato lovers out there. Sometimes they are additionally baked in some spicy tomato sauce. We enjoyed them hot out of the fryer.
Libyan M'battan (Fried Potato wedges with Minced Meat)
- 4 medium size potatoes
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Meat Stuffing:
- 2 lbs minced beef or lamb or combination of both.
- 1 finely chopped medium onion
- 2 cups finely chopped parsley
- 1 finely grated garlic cloves
- 1 finely chopped chili pepper optional
- 1 teaspoon each: black pepper cinnamon, ginger
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 beaten egg
- 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup boiling water
- 4 tablespoons fine breadcrumbs
- 4 tablespoons white flour
- 2 large beaten eggs
- Prepare the stuffing. Put 2 tablespoons butter in the frying pan, add the minced meat and cook on medium heat.
- Do not cover and stir occasionally until it releases its own liquid, when the minced meat has dried, add 1 cup of boiling water, the chopped onion, all the spices and cook on medium heat for 20 minutes.
- Reduce the heat, add the chopped parsley.
- Uncover and cook for another 10 minutes until the excess liquid evaporates.
- Remove from the heat, add the beaten egg and 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs and set aside.
- The hardest part about making mbattan is cutting the potato. Cut a thin slice width-ways which stops three quarters of the way down. Then cut the second slice the whole way, so you end up with a potato slice which opens like a sandwich. Place the sliced potatoes in water while you work.
- Mix breadcrumbs and flour in a bowl.
- In another bowl, beat the two eggs and set aside.
- Open the wedge and fill it with the mixture, pressing in firmly with your finger along the exposed edges.There should be no gaps, and the sandwich should not be too full either.
- Take the filled wedge, holding it from the joined end, and cover just the filling with the breadcrumbs and flour mix.
- Once you have dipped each mbattan piece in flour, set them aside on a plate until you are ready to fry them.
- Dip each one in egg just before placing it in the frying pan.
- Place the mbattan in a deep frying pan, and fry on medium-high heat until golden brown, or you can use a deep fryer.
- The filling is cooked so frying mbattan is like frying thick potato slices. Put as many pieces into the frying pan as possible to keep the oil from overheating so the potatoes have time to cook through.
- Remove the mubattan when golden brown, place them on tissues and pat away excess oil. The wedges are now ready to eat.
- If your potatoes are sliced too thick, a trick is to fry them for colour and then cover the mubatan with foil to finish cooking in the oven. Some people pour a spicy tomato sauce over the mbattan before placing them in the oven, but I like them best plain.