Sunday, 24 October 2010

Fried Cauliflower with a Cumin Batter and Minced-Meat Filling - Mbatan Kronb Alzahra مبطن كرنب الزهرة

Mbatan Kronb is a delicious side dish, with cumin flavoured batter and a minced meat filling lifting it above plain fried cauliflower. It is a traditional variation on the more famous Libyan recipe of meat-filled potato wedges which are referred to simply as Mbatan.

This type of Mbatan uses cauliflower florets instead of potatoes, and the minced meat and parsley filling is flavored with cumin. The stuffed cauliflower floret is dipped in a thick cumin batter and then fried until golden. This stuffed cauliflower Mbatan is also served as a Main meal with noodle rice: after frying the cauliflower florets place them in an oven proof dish, add tomato sauce and bake for 20 minutes.

Serves 4-6
1 medium cauliflower 
vegetable Oil for deep frying

500g minced lamb
1  cups parsley, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp butter/ samn ( clarified butter or ghee )
2tbspoon bread crumbs
2 tspoon spices mix
1 tspoon black pepper
1 tbspoon salt
1  egg
Batter mix
3 tbspoon plain flour
3 tbsp water
2 larg eggs
1 large garlic clove very finely grated  
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

Prepare the stuffing. Put 2 tbs butter in the frying pan, add the minced meat and cook on medium heat. Do not cover and stir occasionally until it releases its own liquid, when the minced meat has dried add a cup of hot water half the amount of the chopped onion,all the spices cover and cook on  medium  heat until all the liquid is absorbed . Reduce the heat add the remaining amount of the onion and all the amount of parsley. Cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, when it get cold, break in one egg and 2tbspoon bread crumbs and mix well.

Prepare the batter mix. Beat two eggs with  of flour, grated garlic cloves a pinch of salt , 2 tsp cumin, baking powder and the 4 table spoons of water to make a thick batter.

Using a sharp paring knife separate the cauliflower into florets. Select the large florets and parboil them (half cooked), then leave to cool. Make an incision in the middle of each compact floret, creating a place for the stuffing but leaving the base intact. You don't need to make a cut when you have several small florets loosely attached to a single stem, just fill the 'hollows'.

Stuff with the meat mixture, pressing firmly into place.

Dip 'head first' in a bowl of flour to cover just the filling, then place in the cumin batter and spoon it over the whole floret, ensuring that it is well coated. Lift up the floret with a spoon to hold the stuffing in place, and place in the hot oil.

Fry in batches.always start with the filling side downward then turn to fry all sides 

Remove the florets when golden brown, drain excess oil.

The meat filling inside.

Mbatan Kronb served as aside dish or you can put it in an oven proof dish, add tomato sauce and bake for 15 minutes and serve as a main with noodle rice


  1. Essalam Alaikum, Masha'allah this looks great! I had Libyan neighbors and we would exchange food sometimes. She would send these on occasion and I also have another friend from Libya who used to make this exact recipe except using potatoes, and boy both were so yummy!

  2. Walaikum Asalam. The potato mbatan is definitely more popular, though there are a few other variations. There's a link to the potato recipe above :)

  3. السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
    بارك الله فيك أختي على ماقدمتي ^_^
    واسمحي لي بأن أنقل موضوعك عنك في منتدى المطبخ الليبي
    وهو منتدى جديد خاص بالمطبخ الليبي
    وأدعوك للمشاركة فيه
    اذا أعجبك
    تحياتي لك

  4. increadibly creative ... I like the veggy but always think that there is not much to do with it...look at this! simply amazing dish//

  5. Love your blog, can't wait to try some of your recipes, I only had one Libyan dish in my entire life.