Looking for an alternative to chips for late night snacks or to serve with vegetarian BBQs? This is the recipe for you. Rather than cooking as chips, the potatoes here are cubed and roasted with garlic and capsicums in a traditional Lebanese and Syrian dish. Ottolenghi shares it in his book Plenty More. I like to add eggplants as well – the texture of these is a great contrast to the crispy potatoes and the sweet capsicums. I have also added some curry leaf powder, but this is entirely optional. I like it it because it pairs so well with chilli powder and chilli flakes.
Make curry leaf powder by grinding dried curry leaves. If you have access to fresh leaves, toast them in a dry pan until crispy, then grind. If you’ve purchased dried leaves, grind them as they are.
Batata Harra with Eggplant | Spicy Lebanese Roast Potatoes with Eggplant
1 kg potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm dice
3 medium eggplants
2 Tblspn olive oil
2 Tblspn sunflower oil
6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 tspn pul biber (Turkish flaked chilli) or 0.5 tspn other chilli flakes
2 red capsicums, cut into 2cm dice
1 tspn curry leaf powder (optional)
30g chopped coriander
Grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 1 Tblspn lemon juice
sea salt and black pepper
Heat the oven to 250C. Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil, throw in the potatoes and cook for three minutes. Drain and leave in a colander until completely dry.
Peel strips of peel lengthwise from the eggplants, and discard the strips. Dice the eggplant into 2cm cubes.
Mix the potatoes and eggplants with the oils, sea salt and black pepper, and spread on a medium roasting tray lined with tin foil; the vegetables should fit in snugly in one layer.
Put them in the oven to roast and, after 10 minutes, stir in the garlic, chilli flakes, red capsicum pieces, the curry leaf powder (if using) and half of the coriander leaves. Return to the oven and roast for a further 25-30 minutes, until the potatoes are nicely coloured and completely tender. Stir once halfway through the cooking. Watch towards the end of cooking so they don’t overcook.
Remove the vegetables from the oven and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the lemon zest and juice. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve warm or at room temperature, stirring in the remaining coriander at the last minute.