Libyan Mbattan Dish

If you're looking for a hearty and flavourful dish, you can't go wrong with Libyan Mbattan. This dish is a popular street food in Libya
A Popular Street Food in Libya

If you’re looking for a hearty and flavourful dish, you can’t go wrong with Libyan Mbattan. This dish is a popular street food in Libya and is enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. It’s a type of stuffed pastry that is typically filled with ground beef, onions, and spices. The pastry is then fried until golden brown and served hot.

Making the Libyan Mbattan

To make the filling, you will need to brown the ground beef in a skillet with olive oil, garlic, and onions. Add in a variety of spices such as cumin, paprika, and cinnamon, to give the filling a depth of flavour. Once the beef is cooked through, remove it from the heat and let it cool.

Make the Dough

Next, it’s time to make the pastry. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, and yeast. Add in warm water and olive oil, and mix until a smooth dough forms. Knead the dough for a few minutes, and then let it rest for about 30 minutes.

Lybian Mbattan Traditional Dish
Divide the Dough Into Small Balls

Once the dough has rested, divide it into small balls. Roll each ball into a thin circle, and then add a spoonful of the beef filling to the centre. Fold the pastry over to create a half-moon shape, and then press the edges together to seal.

Heat up a skillet with vegetable oil and fry the pastries until golden brown on both sides. Serve hot with a side of harissa sauce for a spicy kick.

A Delicious and Satisfying Dish

Overall, Libyan Mbattan is a delicious and satisfying dish that is perfect for a quick snack or a full meal. The bold flavours and crispy texture make it a crowd-pleaser that you’ll want to make again and again.

How to Make the Libyan Mbattan

4 medium size potatoes                                                                                                                                      Vegetable oil for frying

Meat Stuffing:

2 lbs minced beef or lamb or combination of both.                                                                                              1 finely chopped medium onion                                                                                                                              2 cups finely chopped parsley                                                                                                                                  1 finely grated garlic cloves                                                                                                                                      1 finely chopped chili pepper optional                                                                                                                    1 teaspoon each: black pepper cinnamon, ginger                                                                                                  1 tablespoon salt                                                                                                                                                        1 beaten egg                                                                                                                                                                2 tablespoons breadcrumbs                                                                                                                                      2 tablespoons butter                                                                                                                                                  1 cup boiling water


4 tablespoons fine breadcrumbs                                                                                                                            4 tablespoons white flour                                                                                                                                          2 large beaten eggs

  1. Prepare the stuffing. Put 2 tablespoons butter in the frying pan, add the minced meat and cook on medium heat.
  2. 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.
  3. Reduce the heat, add the chopped parsley.
  4. Uncover and cook for another 10 minutes until the excess liquid evaporates.
  5. Remove from the heat, add the beaten egg and 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs and set aside.
  6. The hardest part about making mbattan is cutting the potato. Cut a thin slice width-ways 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.
  7. Mix breadcrumbs and flour in a bowl.
  8. In another bowl, beat the two eggs and set aside.
  9. 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.
  10. Take the filled wedge, holding it from the joined end, and cover just the filling with the breadcrumbs and flour mix.
  11. Once you have dipped each mbattan piece in flour, set them aside on a plate until you are ready to fry them.
  12. Dip each one in egg just before placing it in the frying pan.
  13. Place the mbattan in a deep frying pan, and fry on medium-high heat until golden brown, or you can use a deep fryer.
  14. The filling is cooked so frying mbattan is like frying thick potato slices. Put as many pieces into the frying pan as possible to keep the oil from overheating so the potatoes have time to cook through.
  15. Remove the mubattan when golden brown, place them on tissues and pat away excess oil. The wedges are now ready to eat.
  16. 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 like them best plain.

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