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Libyan Mafrum Recipe by Max from Saada

Mafrum, a Lybian dish, is essentially a potato, filled with meat, fried, and then slowly cooked in a sauce. The cooking process creates a unique relationship between the potatoes and the filling. While the spices, which include cinnamon and rose flower, make every bite you take magical and unforgettable. 

Ingredients (for 8-10 servings):

  • 8 large, peeled potatoes
  • 1 shredded potato
  • 400 g (0.8 pound) minced meat (Max usually uses rib meat)
  • ½ bunch of coriander (about 30g)
  • 2 carrots (peeled)
  • About 100 g of tomato paste (used in sauce and also in the batter the mafroums are fried in)
  • 2 finely chopped medium onions
  • 1.5 Cups of flour 
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbs crushed garlic
  • Salt, pepper, sweet paprika, cinnamon, a little sugar.
  • Special Mafrum spice (contains rose flowers, cloves, cardamom, and other good things).  Alternatively, you may use Baharat or Ras el Hanut

The night before, slice the potatoes into 1 cm (0.4 inches) thick slices. Cut each slice in the middle to create a kind of “potato pita.”
Soak the potatoes in brine (30g of salt per liter of water or 0.6 pounds of salt per 33 oz water) overnight. Soaking helps their softening, and the spices are absorbed much better.
The next day, dry the potatoes thoroughly with absorbent paper – very important.

In a separate bowl:

Mix ground beef, finely chopped onion, chopped parsley, egg, spices, and grated potato.
Fill the sliced and dried potatoes with the mixture.

For the frying batter:
2-3 eggs
2-3 glasses of water
A teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
Crushed garlic (about three teaspoons)

Mix all ingredients well , until you get a smooth texture, as thick as pancake mixture.

Heat a large, deep frying pan with oil.
Dip each stuffed potato in the mixture and fry well on both sides. Remove and place on a plate.

The sauce

In a wide saucepan make the sauce:

Heat a pot over a low-medium heat, pour a little oil, sauté the carrots and onions until golden.

Add 1.5 tbs paprika, 1.5 tbs of the mafroum spice, (or 1 tbs ras el hanut), half a tbs of cinnamon, and about two tsp of salt (to your taste).

Mix in any leftovers you have from the potatoes

After lightly frying add:

A tbs filled with tomato paste

A little sugar

A spoon of crushed garlic

Add about a cup of water (nothing to do, that’s according to the eye!)

Bring to a boil and place the stuffed potatoes. They should be tight, but not one above the other.

Cover the pot and cook on a medium-high heat for about an hour.


Serve with couscous or white rice.

Enjoy your meal!


Read thre full post about Saada here:

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