Potato croquettes (Batata chap)

I wrote a post about our family trip to Iraq and the Marsh Lands a few months ago and included a recipe for a traditional Iraqi dish, batata chap (batata means potato in Arabic).

A reader of this blog, Samir, was having trouble with the recipe (the potatoes not holding their shape). When I posted  the recipe, I had used a silicone mold and baked the potatoes instead of the usual frying procedure. The silicone molds helped the potatoes hold their shape. I used a minimum amount of cornstarch (1/4 cup) for 2 pounds of potatoes.

For the baked recipe, click here.

If one does not have a mold, the amount of flour or starch must be increased, otherwise it is not easy to achieve the croquette shape. Hence this second recipe, slightly modified.

INGREDIENTS: Recipe will yield about 22-25 croquettes, depending on the size.

  • 1 pound of potatoes (454 g.)
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces or 125 g.) of cornstarch or flour (note: I used cornstarch)
  • salt, white pepper, paprika (optional)
  • oil, for frying
  • 1 large egg
  • Filling: 1/4 pound of minced meat (around 120 g. ), 3 tablespoons of minced onion, 1 diced tomato, spices, 1/4 cup of pine nuts if desired
  • olive oil, as needed


  1. Peel the potatoes and boil in salted water for 30 minutes or until cooked. Drain well and keep the potato water in the freezer to make bread or doughnuts with, if you wish.
  2. Heat a little olive oil in a skillet and fry the onions and pine nuts, if using; add the meat and spices and  stir-fry until the meat is cooked and no longer pink. Add the diced tomatoes and stir, cooking the mixture until well-mixed. Taste and adjust seasoning, keeping in mind that the filling should be well-seasoned, not bland.
  3. When the potatoes are cool, mash them, adding salt and paprika and mix in the egg and the cornstarch. The dough will be soft, firm and no longer sticky; it should be easy to work with and malleable. Set aside and cover until ready to cook.

  1. When ready to proceed, set a plate next to the potatoes and pour a scant cup of cornstarch in it. Place a teaspoon in the  meat filling. Dip your fingers and the palm of your hands in the starch; pinch off a piece of potato dough the size of a small egg. Flatten the piece between your palms. Place a teaspoon of filling on the flattened dough and enclose the dough pinching the ends to seal the croquette completely. Roll between your palms to get a nicely rounded shape if desired. Place each formed croquette on the plate until all are shaped.
  2. Heat the oil in a deep-fryer or a pot, at least 3 inches deep. When the oil reaches 375F drop the croquettes in the oil. Separate them gently if they stick together at first, flip them after a couple of minutes so that they color evenly all over. Remove, drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Serve hot.


The potatoes should be the starchy kinds of potatoes, so-called baking potatoes in the US, or Russet. The filling can be vegetarian, or anything you like, as long as it is well-seasoned as this dish can be a bit bland.

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  1. Posted January 10, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Oh these are so good! I’m craving them now!

  2. Posted January 10, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    mmmm, puerto ricans make something similar though a little bit larger – these look so tasty I would love to taste them with lamb…..

  3. Posted January 10, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never had anything like this before but they sound delicious and easy to make. Would you eat these as an appetizer or first course?

  4. Joumana
    Posted January 10, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    @Susan: These are served as part of a buffet, as an appetizer.

    @Samir: That recipe from the Gulf sounds yummy too! Did you try it?

    @Peter: We make these croquettes with bulgur in Lebanon and call them kibbeh ‘rass

  5. Posted January 10, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    These potatoes look very delicious. I bet they will be a hit during parties. Thanks for all the extra tips.

  6. Posted January 10, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    They look so tempting, love this recipe.

  7. Posted January 10, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Those look amazing! I was just readin through a potato croquette recipe I used a while ago and was thinking it’s been too long. I bet my kids would love these even more for that flavorful filling.

  8. Posted January 10, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Those look mighty good! Really mouthwatering.



  9. Posted January 10, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    I love these kind of appetizers, and the directions are great!

  10. Posted January 10, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    I grew up eating a much larger version of this with picadillo as the stuffing. They are entirely too good. I like the bite size of yours!

  11. Posted January 10, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Thats really tempting croquettes..marvellous..

  12. Posted January 10, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    These look crispy and irresistible! I’d love to try making stuffed croquettes like these.

  13. Posted January 10, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    Oohhh don’t these look good! I know I should bake them, but you KNOW I’m gonna fry them! I’ve got some ground lamb in the freezer that will be perfect for these. – S

  14. Posted January 10, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    I love this!!!! We have a similar dish in Colombia ” Stuffed Potatoes” and I really like it!

  15. Posted January 10, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    My family would love these!!! This recipe looks delicious! I need to give these a try!

  16. Posted January 10, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    You are a temptress – the seasonings do make it. Comfort me with stuffed croquettes!

  17. Posted January 10, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    Croquettes here in the US definitely do NOT look as delicious as these! that stuffing sounds wonderful!

  18. Posted January 10, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    Balls of potato filled with meat– FRIED. I can’t think of anything tastier! I’ve never heard of this Iraqi version but looks delicious.

  19. Posted January 10, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    Remind me of the Sicilian arancine made with rice. Must try them with potato, great finger food.

  20. Posted January 10, 2011 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    These look like fun to make. I would love them fried but bet they are really good baked, too. Thanks for this one.

  21. samir
    Posted January 11, 2011 at 12:05 am | Permalink

    ..so kind of you to revisit the recipe and tweak it!..theses pictures make it more than tempting enough for me to give it another try…thank you. I saw a gulf recipe for these but with a combination of potato, burghol and flour..and a filling of chopped black and green olives,sumac and walnuts,,

  22. Posted January 11, 2011 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    There is something rather irresistable about stuffed things. I bet children would devour these.

  23. Posted January 11, 2011 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    Oh gosh, this is gluten-free! And if I make it with kangaroo mince, then my mum with all her allergies could have it too :)

  24. Posted January 11, 2011 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    wonderful appetizer Joumana,those look tasty! Thanks for sharing, kisses…

  25. Posted January 11, 2011 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Seriously, those are the “cutest” potato croquettes ever! I can just imagine how tasty they are.

    Thanks for sharing…I need to make me some, soon!!!

  26. Posted January 11, 2011 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Excellent! :-)

  27. Posted January 11, 2011 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Those potatoes look really yummy!

  28. Posted January 11, 2011 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Joumana, these look delicious!

    I’ve been thinking of making the Cuban version of this wonderful dish, for some time now. They’re called ‘Papas Rellenas’ (Stuffed Potatoes); we make the beef filling pretty spicy, and deep-fry the stuffed potato balls.

    Your post has conjured up many wonderful memories of a wonderful appetizer—although, in Cuba, these were sometimes made larger, and served as an entrée.

  29. Posted January 11, 2011 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    i believe these will make good appetizers, would love to try this someday too.

  30. Posted January 11, 2011 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Silcone mold? Ingenious.

  31. Posted January 11, 2011 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    I saw a Turkish mom make a similar dish but with bulgur wheat on the outside and it was fascinating to watch and even better in my mouth.

    This is an A-1 recipe!

  32. Posted January 11, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    i am just drooling over these … they looks so delish:)

  33. Posted January 11, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    This looks oh so yummy! I love fried mashed potatoe balls. Take a look at my tuna croquettes!

  34. Posted January 11, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    What a great recipe – and I am really glad you did it again differently, as I have missed so many of your posts – being on your SPAM list – now that I am off of it – I hope I will once again receive the notifications of your new posts.
    This is my kind of dish. Easy to make. Sit and watch TV at night while rolling – and the baked version would be more healthy – but the fried version more tasty. I think. I will just have to try BOTH. You are a DOLL.
    Thank you SO much. I knew what needed to be done was so easy – spam and junk mail wise – but, if you don’t know – you don’t know. I am so glad you do, now – and I am free – and BACK!

  35. Posted January 11, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Yeah! It worked I see myself!

  36. Posted January 11, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    magnifique recette joumana, je vais là tester et je te donnerais des nouvelles, elle me tente trop, merci pour ce bon partage

  37. Posted January 11, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Fantastic recipe, looks absolutely tempting!

  38. Posted January 11, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Tout ce que j’aime !
    Tres belle annee !

  39. samir
    Posted January 11, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    not yet…but its on my list along with your olive bread roll..

  40. Posted January 11, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    This marvelous and so much like the aloo/batata tikki Mum used to make and we’d sit and eat them hot from the frying pan with fresh green coriander chutney..oh the good old days and my taste of childhood :)

    Lovely, Joumana

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  41. Posted January 12, 2011 at 5:00 am | Permalink

    One of my favourite dishes my mom used to make, stuffed with minced meat. I don’t make them very often as I avoid deep fried food. Thanks for reminding me of them. I have not posted the recipe yet but I shall post a picture on facebook and maybe put them in my list to post soon.

  42. Posted January 12, 2011 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Looks very tempting.Am sure to try it…

  43. Posted January 13, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    This is a recipe I will try for sure. Thank you for sharing it with us. It really looks delicious…!

  44. Posted February 28, 2011 at 3:05 am | Permalink

    Que voilà une bien jolie recette que je vais essayer, j’ en ai fais une avec du boeuf et gingembre il y a quelque mois qui dort dans mes archives…..

  45. Vanita
    Posted August 17, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Hi Joumana,

    My ancestors were from Sindh and when i read different blogs
    i am amazed at the similarities in sindhi cooking and a lot of middle eastern cooking.

    We make “chaap” also.We omit the tomatoes in the filling,it is drier filling and we spice it up with ground coriander and cumin,cayenne and a little ginger garlic paste.
    In the potato mix we add cumin seeds,chopped cilantro,chopped green chillies
    and the binder is a few slices of soaked and well squeezed white bread kneaded well into the mashed potatoes.
    I read a recipe for fish made the persian way with fenugreek on http://turmericsaffron.blogspot.com/ and that is also very similar to the way we cook
    fish with fenugreek.
    I have enjoyed reading your blog since i stumbled upon it a few days ago.

  46. Joumana
    Posted August 17, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    @Vanita: How interesting! I guess all this intermingling of food is a result of darker episodes in history with transfer of populations or conquests from colonizing powers at one point or another? I appreciate all the info that is related to the dishes I post, it adds interesting background knowledge; thanks again for your praise!

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