Friday, 27 August 2010

Fried Potato Wedges Stuffed with Minced Meat: Mbatan Batata مبطن بطاطا

Mubatan, or Mbattan which is also called Batata Mbatna, is a Libyan speciality which consists of potato wedges with a herb and minced meat filling, coated in breadcrumbs and egg and fried. They are especially popular in Ramadan.

This addictive appetizer is made by slicing a potato, keeping two slices joined together at the base to form a sandwich which is then filled with the parsley and minced meat mixture.

The art of making mubatan is all about the slicing of the potato. Once you master that, this easy and delicious Libyan dish is bound to become a favorite. An easier and healthier version for everyday is Mbattan in the oven.

4 medium size potatoes
Vegetable oil for frying
Meat Stuffing:
5oog minced beef or lamb
1 finely chopped medium onion
2 cups finely chopped parsley
1 finely grated garlic cloves
1 finely chopped chilli pepper (optional)
1 tspoon each: black pepper ,cinnamon, ginger
1 tbspoon salt 
1 beaten egg
2 tbspoon breadcrumbs
2 tbspoon butter
1 cup boiling water
4 tbspoon fine breadcrumbs
4 tbspoon white flour
2 large beaten eggs

Prepare the stuffing. Put 2 tbs butter in the frying pan, add the minced meat and cook on medium heat. Do not cover and stir occasionally until it releases its own liquid, when the minced meat has dried, add 1 cup of  boiling water, the chopped onion, all the spices and cook on  medium  heat for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat, add the chopped parsley. Uncover and cook for another 10 minutes until the excess liquid evaporates.  Remove from the heat, add the beaten egg and 3 tbspoon breadcrumbs and set aside.

The most important stage in making mubattan is cutting the potato. Cut a thin slice widthways which stops three quarters of the way down. Then cut the second slice the whole way, so you end up with a potato slice which opens like a sandwich. Place the sliced potatoes in water while you work.  

         Mix breadcrumbs and  flour in a bowl. In another bowl, beat the two eggs and set aside. Open the wedge and fill it with the mixture, pressing in firmly with your finger along the exposed edges.There should be no gaps, and the sandwich should not be too full either.

Take the filled wedge, holding it from the joined end, and cover just the filling with the breadcrumbs and flour mix. 

Once you have dipped each mubattan piece in flour, set them aside on a plate until you are ready to fry them.

 Dip each one in egg just before placing it in the frying pan.

Place the mubattan in a deep frying pan, and fry on medium-high heat until golden brown. The filling is cooked so frying mbatan is like frying thick potato slices. Crowd as many pieces into the frying pan as possible to keep the oil from overheating so the potatoes have time to cook through.

Remove the mubattan when golden brown, place them on tissues and pat away excess oil. The wedges are now ready to eat.

 If your potatoes are sliced too thick, a trick is to fry them for colour and then cover the mubatan with foil to finish cooking in the oven. Some people pour a spicy tomato sauce over the mbattan before placing them in the oven, but I think they are lighter and crispier plain.


  1. Thanks for your efforts with this blog. It has very quickly become one of my favourites, especially as we are now in Ramadan! Also, by documenting these wonderful recipes in English you are bringing these recipes to a much wider audience and educating the world with regard to the great Libyan cuisine that exists!

  2. Thanks for visiting, I'm glad you're finding the blog useful :) Libyan food is definitely under-appreciated in my opinion. There's a lot more variety than many people think.

  3. Essalam Alaikum, Here they are! I love these! I make them all the time with soup!

  4. Walaikum Asalam :) Yay for mbattan and soup! I think this is one of those recipes very few people would not like. Maybe I'm biased though :D

  5. May Allah be with the libyan people. I came here wanting to know more about libyan culture, and i am going to cook this mbatten to feel closer to the libyans. i am from egypt by the way.

  6. I've tried it myself many many times, I am in love with the Mubatan :)

  7. Thank you so much Sarah, and welcome to the blog :) May God be with us all, these are difficult days for many.

    Me too, Rana, me too

  8. Thank you for the detailed recipes. I love mbuttin. Can you please post a bureek dough and meat filling recipe. I love bureek, tasty ramadan treat. Barak Allahu feek

  9. Thanks Umm Obaidah, we posted Bureek a while ago

  10. love this dish its my favorite.....

  11. my Libyan friend told me about this dish. I am looking forward to try it. Thank you for the recipe.

  12. I love this recipe, we had Libyan neighbors years ago and they used to send over a plate! Thank you for this wonderful food memory!

  13. hi my names yusuf belhawla and I'm from Darnah libya ..I love this site full of traditional food

  14. I tasted this in Libya at my friend's house and have meant to try and make it ever since. I wrote down the recipe but your step by step pics help. Lovely to find this site.