Maakouda Batata: Moroccan Potato Cakes

Moroccan potato pancakes maakouda batata

The Spruce / Cure Art 

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Chilling Time: 2 hrs
Total: 2 hrs 50 mins
Servings: 5 to 6 servings
Yield: 15 potato cakes
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
426 Calories
30g Fat
35g Carbs
7g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 5 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 426
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 30g 39%
Saturated Fat 6g 32%
Cholesterol 72mg 24%
Sodium 748mg 33%
Total Carbohydrate 35g 13%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 16mg 79%
Calcium 55mg 4%
Iron 3mg 19%
Potassium 900mg 19%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

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 in wedges of Moroccan khobz. They can also be served as an appetizer or as a side.

This version is well-seasoned with sautéed onions, garlic, cilantro, and cumin. Turmeric is optional. Use it if you'd like to add appetizing color to the potato cakes. 

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Although maakouda is traditionally prepared with mashed potatoes, some prefer the texture and appearance of grated potatoes as described in this recipe. This method requires time for chilling the cooked potatoes, so if you're in a hurry, you may prefer to make the more traditional mashed potato variation of maakouda or a different famous Moroccan dish.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds medium potatoes

  • 1 teaspoons salt, more for the pot

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

  • 2 large eggs, beaten

  • Olive oil, for frying

Steps to Make It

Ahead of Time

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Place the potatoes in a large pot. Cover with salted water and boil just until a sharp knife can be inserted halfway through.

  3. Drain the potatoes and plunge them 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.

Make the Potato Cakes

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Melt the butter over medium-low heat in a small skillet. Add the onion and sauté gently over medium-low heat for 7 to 10 minutes, or until translucent.

  3. Add the garlic and sauté a minute more, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat.

  4. Grate the chilled potatoes into a mixing bowl. Gently fold in the onion and garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, cumin, pepper, turmeric, 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.

  5. Shape the potato mixture into cakes about 3 inches in diameter. Wet hands will make the mixture easier to handle.

  6. 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 about 8 minutes per side, or until deep golden-brown and crisp.

  7. Serve the maakouda warm.

Recipe Variation

Alternatively, press all of the potato mixture into hot oil in 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 frying pan and carefully slide the potato cake back into the pan to cook the bottom half.