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Batata mahshiyeh

Almost every culture has their version of meat and potatoes, and this is the Middle East’s version. This form of the dish is mostly made in the Levant, but other areas do their own form and style of batata mahshiyeh, which literally translates to stuffed potatoes.

The dish is pretty simple to make and straightforward, but it does require some elbow grease when it comes to coring out the potatoes. Some people try to core them out with a knife, but do yourself a favour and pick up a corer from your nearest Middle Eastern shop. It makes life so much easier and you can use it to core out a bunch of different vegetables like courgettes or baby aubergines.

Although it isn’t traditional, the minced meat filling can be replaced with so many other things and can even be made into a vegetarian dish by stuffing it with some couscous and diced vegetables. The options are endless!

Ingredients

Serves 6

  • 800g medium potatoes
  • Oil for frying

Filling

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 250g minced meat (lamb or beef)
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 tsp. mixed spice
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 tbsp. chopped parsley
  • Toasted pine nuts

Sauce

  • 3 medium tomatoes finely chopped
  • ½ cup passata
  • ½ cup stock
  • 1 tsp. mixed spice
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

1. Peel and hollow out the potatoes, making sure not to pierce the potato. Reserve the potato pieces.

2. Fry the potatoes in oil for 7 to 10 minutes or until they start to turn golden brown. Set aside on kitchen towel.

3. To make the filling, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and then brown the meat. Remove any excess liquid, add a drizzle of olive oil, and then put in the onions and garlic. Sautee together with the spices, salt and pepper. Mix in the parsley and pine nuts and put the filling aside. If you have extra filling left over after stuffing the potatoes, I like to add it to scrambled eggs or as a topping for humus. Alternatively, you could freeze it for next time!

4. Cover the bottom of a baking pan with the potato pieces hollowed out from the potatoes and rub with salt and pepper and add the chopped tomatoes. Stuff each potato with the filling and place in the baking dish. Mix the stock with the passata and pour over the potatoes, making sure it is evenly distributed.

5. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake at 200C for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through. Serve on their own with yogurt or with rice. Enjoy.

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