Maghrebi Mondays: Maaqouda

IMG_2009Maaqouda is a potato patty (or beignet, fritters, whatever – it has a lot of nicknames, more than it should) that originates from, and is commonly eaten in, the Maghreb (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia). It is one of my favorite ‘light snacks’ or entrées, although anyone who has seen me attack a plate of these will tell you that I eat enough for them to count as a full meal.

I typically make these during Ramadan when I get sick of bourek, they’re quite easy to make and they come in different variations (stuffed with cheese, minced meat, tuna, etc. – you get the picture). I, however, make the most basic version of it. And I know it’s no longer Ramadan, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t make a batch or two. Or three. Or four.

INGREDIENTS (8-10 pieces, can more/less depending on how you size them)

  • 4 medium sized potatoes
  • 4-5 tablespoons of breadcrumbs
  • 2 handfuls of chopped parsley
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • flour
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • oil (for frying)

PREPARATION

IMG_2004Peel and dice the potatoes, then place them in a pot and fill it with water until they’re immersed. Add salt and black pepper to the pot. Let the potatoes boil. Check on the potatoes every once in a while, once they’re soft, drain the pot. Make sure to get as much of the water as possible out; the drier the potatoes, the better.

Mash the potatoes well with a fork, add the chopped parsley, cumin powder, garlic powder, salt and black pepper. Mix. Add breadcrumbs. Mix again. Leave to cool for roughly 10-15 minutes. Then add the eggs.

Take a large, deep saucepan and add enough oil to deep fry. While the oil is heating, shape the patties by taking about a large tablespoons worth of the mixture and flattening it between your palms. Do NOT flatten it too much; it’s a patty, not a pancake.

IMG_2007Once shaped, thoroughly cover the Maaqouda in flour, remove excess and deep fry. Turn when golden.

Maaqouda is partial to crumbling during the frying process which is why properly draining the water after boiling potatoes, mashing them with a fork, and letting them cool before preparing them is seriously recommended so as to avoid that. If you follow the steps correctly, you shouldn’t have a problem.

Make sure to drain the excess oil when removing it from the saucepan and place it on paper towels to further drain oil.

Maaqouba can be eaten plain, served with a drizzle of freshly squeezed lemon, or (my personal fave) with a light spread of herb cheese on top. Enjoy!

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