Batatis lil Fitaar (Breakfast Potatoes)


One of the few things missing from life in the UAE is breakfast diners.  Sometimes all you are in the mood for is some runny eggs with crispy hashbrowns, and a stack pancakes from a 24-hour breakfast place.  Despite the large number of expats in the UAE, there are little to no such places to find a traditional American breakfast spot.  Of course, these things can easily be made at home (and much healthier), but there is something about the “ambiance” of IHOP that I miss – ha!

But seriously, making breakfast is a really fun way to get the entire family involved and excited about the day.  During the week, I am usually making pancakes or agga (eggs with tomato sauce and dill) for the boys, packing lunches while simultaneously inhaling a cup of Nescafe on our way to school by 8 am.  On the weekends, we have a bit more time to put together a nice breakfast and all sit down in a relaxed environment.

A few weeks ago, despite reading at least 10 different recipes. we tried to make hashbrowns.  No matter what we tried we couldn’t get that layer of crispiness that you get at a diner (which makes me wonder just how much grease they use to achieve that crunch!).  So, this past weekend, we decided to make breakfast potatoes with Middle Eastern flavors.  I used the traditional Egyptian spice combination of cumin and coriander.  The taste reminded me of the fresh french fries my aunt used to make for me in Egypt as a kid, as they were perfectly crispy with a dash of cumin powder for taste.   These breakfast potatoes are very simple to make, and a great way to use  leftover vegetables from the fridge. I always use bits of yellow and red peppers, and always have random lil pieces leftover in my fridge. You could use whatever peppers you have around, even my favorite cubanelle or poblano peppers.  Not quite IHOP hash browns, but way more delicious and flavorful!

Breakfast Potatoes (Batatis lil Fitaar)

by Brenda

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Keywords: boil potatoes onion garlic parsley

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 red onion, diced (approx. 1 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 large potato, cubed
  • 1 cup chopped peppers (red, green, yellow, your choice!)
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pinch black pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  • olive oil


(1) In a large saucepan, heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the diced onions and pressed garlic. Saute.

(2) Once the onions are translucent, add the potatoes, peppers, and spices. Mix well. Let the vegetables slightly brown.

(3) Add the water, and cover with a lid. Reduce the heat to low. Let simmer for10 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. If the potatoes are still not cooked, add another 1/4 cup of water, and let simmer, covered, again until the water is absorbed. The smaller the cubes of potatoes, the quicker they will cook.

(4) Once the water is absorbed, remove the lid, and turn up the heat. Stir periodically until you get a nice golden color on the potatoes. Mix in chopped parsley, if desired. Serve warm – enjoy!


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