Maakouda – Moroccan Potato Beignet

Do you know Maakouda? Maakouda is a sort of Moroccan potato beignet usually eaten as an appetizer, a side or as a filling in a crusty sandwich.

I don’t usually go for deep fried foods, I always try to find an alternative to avoid deep frying because health

This recipe is the first deep fried recipe on the blog because let's face it, sometimes even fried foods are worth it. In my opinion the only things that are worth deep frying and eating are all kinds of potatoes (especially sweet potatoes, hello deliciousness!) and calamari (oh, calamari!). But I’ve been missing maakouda lately and I have to say, these deep fried little beignets are worth the calories and the time spent on the treadmill.

They are super fluffy and smooth on the inside and crusty on the outside. I love them in a sandwich because it reminds me of my childhood and the holidays spent in Morocco with the family. Maakouda in a sandwich is one of the most common street foods in Morocco. When we were kids my cousins and I used to buy maakouda sandwiches for less than £1. The sandwich usually comes with a spiced harissa and lemony tomato sauce. Sooooo good. 

If you go to Morocco try them, if not check the recipe below, it's very straightforward!

Maakouda – Moroccan Potato Beignet

INGREDIENTS

Makes 15 Maakouda

Potato cakes

  • 500 gr potatoes, boiled and peeled
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 1 ½ teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • ½ teaspoon salt or more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Batter

  • 1 teaspoon dried yeast
  • 200 gr (1 ½ cup) flour
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon dried garlic grains 
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 200 ml water (1 cup)

Frying

  • Deep frying oil

Harissa and tomato sauce

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons harissa
  • Juice of a lemon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin

METHOD

• In a large bowl use a fork to mash the potatoes until smooth and stir in the rest of the potato cakes ingredients.

• Activate the dry yeast by adding 2 tablespoons of lukewarm water in a small bowl. Stir with a fork and leave for 5 minutes until foamy.

• Meanwhile, shape the potato mixture into small discs of about 5 cm (2 inch) diameter. Place the potato cakes in the fridge until ready to deep fry.

• Once the yeast is foamy, mix together all the batter ingredients until smooth and leave to proof for 30 minutes. Depending on the flour you will be using, you might need to add a couple of tablespoons of water to the batter to make sure that the batter is not too thick. The batter has to be light enough to coat the potato cakes but not too runny either, otherwise it will break up during deep frying.

• Meanwhile, prepare the harissa and tomato sauce. In a small bowl, stir all the sauce ingredients together until smooth.  

• When ready to deep fry, heat up 5 cm (2 inches) of frying oil in a deep pan over medium high heat until it reaches 180 C (350 F). 

• Transfer a potato cake in the batter and cover it on both sides making sure that the potato cake is fully covered (using 2 large spoons will help with this process). Quickly and carefully transfer the beignet in the warm frying oil. You will notice that the beignet quickly puffs up and emerges to the top, flip it several times until golden brown (about 3 minutes). 

• Once ready, use a slotted spoon to transfer the potato beignet to a plate lined with paper towels.

• Continue frying until all the beignets are cooked. Enjoy warm with the harissa and tomato sauce as an appetizer, a side or as a filling in a crusty sandwich.