Growing up in the US, potato salad has always been a staple side dish at most barbecues, and I absolutely loved the creaminess of the mayo and potatoes with the sharpness of the mustard. I felt like it balanced the smoky grilled meat, but was always happy to have an extra helping of potato salad on its own. I guess that was the Middle Easterner in me because, after moving to the Middle East and being with my grandparents, I realised the egg and potato dinner we would have once every week or two was actually another version of potato salad.
Mfaraket baid o batata, which roughly translates to “rubbed eggs and potatoes”, probably got its name from the fact that the eggs and potatoes rub elbows with the seasoning, taking them from boring boiled potatoes and eggs to a deliciously tangy salad. My grandmother would make this often for dinner, and the greatest hint that she would be making this is that her big gold teapot would be out on the stove. In a massive teapot, she used to boil the eggs and little potatoes that she would set aside especially for this dish from the huge carton of potatoes my grandpa would buy and, somehow, they would all miraculously cook on time together. This can be served on its own with some warm toasted bread, which is how we ate it growing up, or as a side dish, just like the American potato salad. I have also made this into sandwiches, and they were so good, perfect for a picnic or barbecue, as it does not run the risk of going bad in the heat, like mayo-based salads.
This is the absolute easiest dish ever, and there isn’t much to elaborate on but, first, make sure you have good quality sumac. It should be dark purple, not bright pink or red, as I have seen in some supermarkets. The other thing is that it is best to use waxy potatoes that hold their shapes, such as new potatoes, fingerlings, Yukon golds, or even red potatoes. That way, they won’t turn into mashed potatoes. Next time you’re craving eggs for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, try out mfaraket baid o batata, it is sure to please.
3 potatoes, boiled and peeled
5 eggs, boiled and peeled
4 sprigs of spring onion, chopped
Lemon juice, to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
Sumac, to taste
Bread to serve
- In a pot, add water and some salt and boil your eggs until cooked through. You do not want a soft-boiled egg for this recipe. Cool and cut into slices.
- In another pot, add some water and salt and boil your potatoes, then peel and cut into slices or cubes.
- Place your eggs and potatoes in a bowl and add the spring onions, lemon juice, salt, pepper, sumac and olive oil and slowly toss together, making sure not to mash it all together. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. Alternatively, you can arrange the slices of egg and potato in a serving platter, sprinkle the spring onion over it, then mix together the rest of the ingredients to make a dressing and drizzle it over the potatoes and eggs.
- Serve this warm or cold, as a meal on its own, with some bread or a side dish and enjoy!