Batata harra is a classic Lebanese side dish that combines crispy potatoes with a blend of spices, garlic, red chilies, and cilantro for a delicious and satisfying appetizer or side dish. This Lebanese spicy potatoes recipe is sure to become a family favorite that you’ll make again and again!
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Table of Contents
What is Batata Harra?
Batata Harra is a Lebanese spicy dish that’s popular in the Middle East and also found in Middle Eastern restaurants around the world. It’s made with roast potatoes tossed in a spicy garlic and cilantro sauce.
Batata harra in Arabic is translated as “spicy potatoes”. It’s typically served as a mezze or appetizer, and it’s a popular street food in Lebanon and other Middle Eastern countries.
Traditionally, you deep fry the potatoes until they’re crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. You then toss the potatoes in a spicy sauce made with garlic, fresh cilantro, and chili powder.
I prefer to make this spicy potato dish in the air fryer or in the oven, rather than frying them.
This batata harra recipe is very similar to my air fryer potatoes recipe, but with a tangy, delicious cilantro sauce.
Tips for Making Spicy Lebanese Potatoes
How to Prevent Sticking
Spray vegetable oil in the air fryer basket or baking sheet. This prevents the potatoes from sticking.
It is also important to make sure that the potatoes are dried really well before applying the spices and oil.
Using your hands to apply the oil to the potatoes is the best way to get maximum coverage. Just be sure to wash your hands really well afterward!
Type of Potatoes
Size of Potatoes
The potatoes should be cut into about the same size to ensure even cooking. If they’re different sizes, some of the pieces can get undercooked or overcooked. I cut the potatoes into 1-inch cubes.
You can use larger potatoes and cut them into cubes or you can use baby potatoes and cut them in half. If you want to leave the mini potatoes whole, you will probably need to increase the air frying time by a few minutes.
When roasting the potatoes, I usually use the same spices as my air fryer roasted potatoes recipe. Add ¼ teaspoon or more of cayenne pepper to the spice mix to make these Middle Eastern potatoes spicier.
Add a pinch of ground cumin or coriander to the potato spices if you like the taste of cumin and/or coriander. I like to keep things simple for this recipe, so I don’t include them.
For a deep garlic flavor, use more garlic cloves.
Some recipes for batata harra have tomato. If you like the flavor of tomatoes, add 1 tablespoon of tomato paste to the cilantro sauce and let it cook for about a minute.
I add a combination of cayenne and paprika to this potatoes harra recipe, which makes it less spicy. If you like spicy foods, omit the paprika and add more cayenne pepper. Omit the cayenne and add more paprika to make it milder.
Batata harra is typically served as a hot appetizer or side dish. You can pair it with another traditional Lebanese recipe such as hummus, baba ganoush, or tabbouleh.
You can double the recipe in the oven but if you’re using an air fryer you might need to make a second batch, in order not to crowd the basket.
If you’re planning on making the batatas harras ahead of time, cook them slightly less. You can roast the potatoes and make the sauce ahead of time and keep them separate. Reheat the potatoes (for a few minutes at 350 degrees F) to crisp them up, add the sauce to the potatoes and toss to coat.
Yes, this spicy Lebanese potato recipe is vegan since it doesn’t contain any animal products. It’s also gluten-free since it doesn’t contain wheat.
Batata Harra – Ingredients
- Olive oil
- Black pepper
- Cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Fresh coriander (cilantro)
- Lemon juice or lime juice
More details in the recipe card at the bottom of this post
How to Make Batata Harra in your Air Fryer (Step-by-Step Instructions)
- Apply spices and air fryer potatoes
- Make the cilantro sauce and mix it with potatoes
Apply Spices and Make Roasted Potatoes
- Add potatoes to a mixing bowl.
- Mix salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, and olive oil in a small bowl. Mix well with potatoes.
- Add the potatoes to the air fryer basket and air fry. Shake basket halfway through cooking process.
- Potatoes are done when a toothpick can easily be inserted. Transfer to a serving dish.
Make Cilantro Sauce and Mix with Potatoes
- While the potatoes are cooking make the cilantro garlic sauce. In a small saucepan, saute garlic in olive oil over medium heat. Turn down heat and add cayenne pepper and stir briefly.
- Stir in cilantro, paprika, and lemon juice or lime juice.
- Remove from heat and add garlic sauce to the reserved hot potatoes.
- Stir all ingredients together to make a delicious potato side dish.
How to Make Lebanese Batata Harra in Oven
Cook Potatoes in the Oven
- Season the potatoes with spices and olive oil.
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat the aluminum foil with oil
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Spread potatoes on the sheet pan in a single layer.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the potatoes are crispy, golden brown in color, and cooked through.
- Transfer to a serving bowl.
Make Sauce on the Stovetop
- In a small saucepan, saute garlic in olive oil over medium heat. Add cayenne pepper and stir briefly.
- Turn down the heat and stir in fresh cilantro, paprika, and lemon juice.
- Add the garlic sauce to the potatoes.
- Toss the potatoes.
- Add a squeeze of lemon over the finished dish.
See the recipe card below for detailed instructions.
Lebanese Spicy Potatoes – Batata Harra
- Pat the potatoes dry with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel until they're completely dry. This is an important step.
- Mix the onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and paprika in a medium bowl. Stir in the oil to make a paste.
- Add the potatoes to the spice mix and coat evenly until every surface is covered.
Air Fryer Instructions
- Place the air fryer basket in the air fryer and coat with oil. You can either use a paper towel soaked with oil or an oil sprayer. Don't use canned aerosol oil as that can harm the coating of the air fryer basket.
- Transfer the potatoes to the basket and make sure they're evenly spread out.
- Close the lid and air fry for 18 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- At the 9 minute mark, shake the basket so the potatoes are tossed well. Close the lid and continue cooking.
- When the cooking time is up, check to make sure the potatoes are cooked to your liking. Toss the potatoes again and air fry for another 2 minutes, if desired.
- Transfer potatoes to a serving dish.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat the foil with oil.
- Spread the potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through and golden in color. Potatoes are done when a toothpick can be easily inserted into a piece.
- Transfer potatoes to a serving dish.
- In a small saucepan, saute garlic in olive oil over medium heat. Be careful not to let the garlic burn.
- Turn the heat down to low. Add cayenne pepper and stir briefly. Stir in cilantro, paprika, and lemon juice. Stir to combine and remove from heat.
- Add cilantro garlic sauce to the potatoes. Stir all ingredients together and serve immediately as a side dish or appetizer.
- Prep time does not include the time needed to peel and cut the potatoes.
- Cooking time can vary based on the air fryer model and the size of the potato cubes. At the 15-minute mark, check the potatoes to see if they’re done.
- See the blog post for more detailed recipe tips.
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I am not a certified nutritionist. I provide my best estimate of nutritional information merely as a courtesy to my readers. If you depend on nutritional information for dietary or health reasons, I suggest using your favorite online nutrition calculator to confirm the nutritional value of this recipe based on the actual ingredients that you use.
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