Maakouda batata are Moroccan potato cakes or fritters. They're a popular street food in Morocco, where they might be eaten plain or used as a sandwich filler. They can also be served as an appetizer or as a side.
This version is well-seasoned with sauteed onions, garlic, cilantro, and cumin. Turmeric is optional – use it if you'd like to add appetizing color to the potato cakes.
Although Maakouda is traditionally prepared with mashed potatoes, I prefer the texture of grated potatoes. The latter method requires time for chilling the cooked potatoes.
Yields about 15 3" potato cakes, or one large 12" maakouda.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
- 1 kg or 2 lbs. potatoes (about 5 medium)
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 to 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 or 4 cloves garlic, pressed
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper, or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 2 eggs, beaten
- olive oil, for frying
Ahead of Time
Select same-sized potatoes. Peel the potatoes, and place in a pot. Cover with water, and boil just until a sharp knife can be inserted halfway through the potatoes.
Drain the potatoes, and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain again, and allow to cool a bit. Chill the potatoes, covered, in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
Alternatively, you can boil the potatoes until soft. Drain, mash, and proceed with the recipe.
Make the Potato Cakes
Melt the butter in a small skillet. Add the onions, and saute them gently over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, or until translucent. Add the garlic, and saute just a minute more, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat.
Grate the chilled potatoes into a mixing bowl. Gently toss in the spices, onions, garlic and cilantro. Stir in enough of the eggs to bind the potatoes, but not so much that there is excess egg in the bottom of the bowl.
Shape the potato mixture into cakes about 3" in diameter.
Heat enough olive oil to generously cover the bottom of a skillet or griddle. Add the potato cakes, and cook slowly over medium heat, about 10 minutes per side, until deep golden brown.
Alternatively, press all of the potato mixture into a large skillet, and cook as a single large maakouda. To turn, gently loosen the maakouda all around with a spatula. Place a large plate over the frying pan, and turn both the plate and frying pan upside down. Add a little more oil to the fyring pan, and carefully slide the potato cake back into the pan to cook the bottom half.
Serve the maakouda warm.