Kubbeh Batata (1)

From personal experience, sometimes just eating someone else’s cooking is a lot easier than trying to recreate it yourself (even when you asked the auntie what she would do). So here’s my story.

Once upon an amazing work project ago, I helped set up a number of media interviews for a high-ranking general. As part of that whirlwind experience, I, along with a journalist and TV crew were invited over to the general’s home for a feature on his daily life, and lucky for us his wife was making dinner and made us try her home cooking. The spread was definitely something to write home about. But I distinctly remember trying something I’d never had before – Kubbeh Batata. Well, that’s not true. I’ve had Kubbeh Batata in the form of a casserole – Palestinian-style, if you will. But this was different. This was little balls of kubbeh with a potato dough stuffed with ground beef. It was amazing, and I’ve only had it a handful of times after that, when I’m treated to Iraqi take out.

A number of years later, I decide, out of the blue that I want to try to make Kubbeh Batata on my own. I will say, it was a very humbling experience.

I learned that sometimes on the first try, you don’t get it right. You make 30 or so little kubbeh balls, perfectly shaped and when you fry them and go to flip them over, they completely fall apart. At that point, I thought I might have to give up and just call my new creation Arabic-style hash browns. Hang tight, you might actually see that on the blog soon!

But I persevered through and I actually did it! I ended up with a decent amount of Kubbeh Batata.

Here are some things I would do differently to ensure they don’t fall apart when you fry:

  • Cool the pre-fried balls in the fridge for an hour or so to keep the shape
  • Be patient and wait until the bottom side is browned before CAREFULLY rolling the kubbeh ball to the other side.

In all, I give myself a B. I had a few testers who loved them and said that they turned out well. Next time … Kubbeh Batata Palestinian style (casserole). It’s much less time consuming, and so much easier on my nerves.

Kubbeh batata_4

Kubbeh Batata [Potato Kubbeh]

Yield: About 20 Pieces

Ingredients

    FOR THE DOUGH
  • 5 russet potatoes, peeled
  • 1 cup basmati or jasmine rice, cooked
  • FOR THE STUFFING
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons (or more to taste) of Seven Spice
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Instructions

    FOR THE DOUGH
  1. Wash, peel and boil the potatoes in a large pot until soft
  2. Meanwhile, cook 1 cup of rice with turmeric and cardamom powder and allow to cool before using
  3. In a food processor, process together the rice and potatoes until smooth, but not liquid
  4. FOR THE STUFFING
  5. Sauté the chopped onion in 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  6. Add the ground beef and brown
  7. When about half-way browned, add salt and seven spice to taste
  8. Continue cooking until the beef is browned
  9. Add the chopped parsley and mix well
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