Banatages are moist, yummy Tunisian fried potato and meat balls.
Like any other regional recipe, there are bound to be a hundred versions of it – this is the way my family likes to make it. The result (in my opinion) is a lighter, airier meat ball.
5 large potatoes, peeled and cubed (small cubes)
4 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. breadcrumbs (or matzo meal for Passover) or GF breadcrumbs
¼ tsp. Pepper
½ tsp. Turmeric
1 large onion
1 handful parsley (leaves only)
500 gr. ground beef
½ tsp. Turmeric
Coarse breadcrumbs (or matzo meal for Passover) or coarse GF breadcrumbs (I mixed fine GF breadcrumbs with crushed GF cornflakes, for that extra crunch)
1 egg, beaten
Boil the potato cubes in salted water until soft.
Strain completely and mash the boiled potatoes, adding the water.
Season with salt, pepper and turmeric, and mix well.
Add breadcrumbs/matzo flour and incorporate.
Finely chop onion and parsley in your food processor.
Over medium heat, sauté the chopped onion and parsley in a little oil until the onion softens and turns translucent.
Add the beef and lightly brown it, stirring continuously.
Season with salt and turmeric.
Remove from heat and let cool.
Prepare a bowl with the breadcrumbs for coating, and a tray lined with baking sheet.
Take a Tbsp. of the potato casing, place on your hand and flatten to an thin oval layer.
Add a Tbsp. of the filling in the center of the potato casing.
Gently fold the edges of the potato casing over the filling, closing the meat within, and shape into an oval banatage.
Roll banatage in breadcrumbs and place over the tray you prepared.
Place tray in the refrigerator to cool and solidify, so it easier to handle, and doesn’t break when frying.
***Tip: If you wish to finish perparing the banatges another day, you can choose to freeze them at this time.
When you wish to finish preparing the banatages:
Heat 1½-2″ (4-5cm) of oil in a frying pan.
Dip each banatage in beaten egg.
Gently insert banatage into hot oil.
Turn until each side is a nice golden brown.
Remove from oil using a skimmer (sieved spoon), and place onto absorbent kitchen towels (to remove excess oil).