Mufaraket Batata


Mufarakeh is another one of these generic names of various vegetable dishes. They share very little between them some are vegetarian like Mufaraket Kusa (courgettes mufarakeh), some use eggs, and some are cooked with ground meat like today's dish Mufaraket Batata (Potato Mufarakeh). The only common factor I could think of is the simplicity of these dishes. They are usually easy to make, quick, simple and filling making them a perfect students and single men food.

The word Mufarakeh could be roughly translated to Rubbed or Massaged. Like Mnazaleh, the name doesn't make much sense especially non of the dishes called mufarakeh I could think of contains any rubbing or massaging of the ingredients.

Mufarakeh is not a modern Syrian word.
Muhammad bin Hasan Al-Baghdadi described a dish called Mufarakeh in his book Kitab Al-Tabeikh (The Book of Cooking) in 1226. The dish he described is a scrambled egg-like dish made from chopped chicken livers, egg yolks and spices.

Potato Mufarakeh is a simple dish of potatoes, onions and minced meat. Traditionally the potato is cut into small cubes, fried and cooked with the meat in a pot. The result is a yummy dish but not great looking. I made some adjustment to the recipe mainly to make it more presentable. It is in a way a deconstructed version of the original dish.


Here is my Mufaraket Batata recipe:
Potatoes 800g
Minced lamb 400g
One large onion
Ghee clarified butter 1tbs
Vegetable oil
Chicken stock 250ml
Pine nuts 50g (optional)
Salt
Pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 200 C.

Start by preparing the meat mixture. Finely chop the onion and fry in the Ghee butter on medium heat till soft. Add the meat and continue to cook till fully cooked. Season with salt and pepper and add the pine nuts towards the end when all the water has evaporated from the meat mixture. The meat need to be well seasoned as it is the main flavouring ingredient.

Peel and slice the potatoes into 5 mm thick slices. Fry in vegetable oil till almost done. Drain on a kitchen towel.

In a deep roasting dish, arrange a layer of the potato slices and sprinkle some salt. Spoon the meat mixture into a thick layer. Arrange the rest of the potato slices on the top. Pour the chicken stock carefully. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper and bake in the oven for 30 - 40 minutes till the surface is golden crisp.

Serve with a generous squeeze of lemon, Arabic bread and salad on the side.


20 comments:

Tammam and Rania said...

Kano, you trouble maker... Now Rania and I are going into debate on what makes Mufarakeh what it is!!! Some existential argument that causes us to raise our voices in Starbucks...
I think it looks lovely and would taste great... I will have to try it sometime, but I will not be allowed to call it Mufarakeh if I want to avoid spending the night on the sofa... Wives rule you know!!!
And she also says that the 'real' Shaghour/Mazzaz/Emariyeh people do not do the Mufaraket Kusa vegetarian, but then, they add meat to everything...

Kano said...

@Tammam and Rania

Hi guys.

So what was the conclusion? What makes a dish Mufarakeh? I am very interested to hear another opinion on this one because I couldn't come to a firm conclusion on this one.

Regarding Mufaraket Kusa it can be done three ways, vegetarian, with meat and with scrambled egg.

tasteofbeirut said...

I love mufaraket batata, your version! I am now interested in the 1226 version that you listed too!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kano, great as usual. I would also be very interested in the vegetarian version with kusa, as I am not a big fan of red meat - do you have a recipe for that as well?

sarah

Kano said...

@taste of beirut
Sorry for the late reply. I am on Holiday in Damascus. I am planning to cook an Arabic medival dinner. This Mufarakeh will be on the menu.

@Sarah
It is quite easy. Chop the onion and fry on medium heat till soft then add the chopped kusa and cook slowly till fully cooked. Season with salt and pepper. You can break couple of eggs if you wish and cook them scrambled.

Anonymous said...

amoosh
مممممممم شكلها طيبة
مافي اطيب من البطاطا

Anonymous said...

@kano ohhh, ok, I know this, the version with kusa and eggs, just had no idea what it was called ;) thank you!
sarah

Kano said...

@amoosh
I totally agree. Potato tastes good no matter how you make it.

@Sarah
Now you know ;)

pity said...

this is delicious, cant wat to try it, really tasty and comforting, cheers

Kano said...

@pity
Thank you. As you said it is nice comforting food. Let me know how it goes when you try it.

Zoubida said...

Hi Kano,
I made your Mufaraket Batata tonight for supper. I cook for a family of five in which I'm the only small "coup de fourchette". I used la règle de trois to increase the amouts so there's enough for my 15 years old son, his two friends who dropped in at the moment I was peeling potatoes, my 12 and 9 years old and their 10 years old friend who was here playing at supper time and my husband who came from work starving as usual. The large roasting pan is scraped clean as I write this. It was a big hit.
I wondered if it would be too bland while preparing. I usually cook moroccan or french and this is my first ever Syrian cooking experience. It was not, not at all. I think its simplicity and the hearty, familiar ingredients (potatoes, onions and ground beef) make the Mufaraket absolutely worthy of the "comfort food" seal.
It'll be made again and again. The crowd in this home can be a challenge to feed (strong appetites) and this is so simple and satisfaying. One kilo of chopped tomatoes sprinkled with salt and pepper and two baguettes were the only sides. I love such an easy meal on a Monday night.
Thank you for this great supper,
Zoubida in Montreal
PS: Please forgive my approximative english.

Zoubida said...

I noticed I wrote ground beef. I didn't change anything to the recipe and it was lamb I actually used, although I thought while cooking that a beef/lamb mix would probably better suit our canadian guests young palates tonight. Lamb has such an undeserved bad reputation here. They didn't speak while eating so I guess they didn't even realize what kind of meat they were eating.

Kano said...

@Zoubaida

Thank you very much!

I am so glad my recipe was such a hit with your family and it managed to feed all these hungry mouthes.

Thank for leaving such a lovely comment. This is what make this blog worth the effort I put into it.

Zoubida said...

Hi Kano,

The eldest boys studied late for exams yesterday, got hungry at the very end of the evening and were disapointed there was no Mufaraket left to reheat. They study for an other exam this afternoon and asked if I could make them some more, which I'm doing right now so they find it when they come back from the science exam. So I'm grateful to you for sharing in such a delicious way culture and knowledge through delicious food.

I will try to make a mezze for tomorrow evening and selected fiew of your recipes. I'll let you know how it went.

Dubai Bride said...

I made this last night... it looked good but I needed more potatoes as they weren't overlapping. Haven't tried it as I made it for hubby. Will let you know what he thought of it!

Kano said...

@Dubai bride

I hope you and hubby loved it!

DubaiBride said...

Hubby just called me and told me it was delicious.. he added a bit of pomegranate molasses on the side as well.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir,
I love your wesite, as a Lebanese living in England I am familiar with a lot of the recipies,however I enjoy the Syrian twist/variation.thanks again
Omar Haddad

Kano said...

@Omar

Thank you very much for the kind words. I hope you have a chance to try few of these recipes.

Jamal said...

FYI, longtime fan and I just made this for the family on Sunday. Everyone loved it including three picky teenagers. Only change I made was I added some thyme on top of each layer of potatoes before popping in the oven. Overall a big hit, likely to become a regular. Given we live insanely far north - Svalbard, google it :) - this likely holds the world's record for northernmost mufaraket batata! Seriously though, I'm a few thousand miles from any decent middle eastern food, so your blog is helping keeping us well fed and sane through the polar night :)

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