Thursday, 10 February 2011

Fried Fish with Mashed Potato Filling: Mbatan Kawali سمك مقلي محشي بالبطاطا

Mbatan are uniquely Libyan, it means 'lining' two layers with stuffing.  Always fried, Mbatan are vegetables stuffed with a minced meat mixture, like Cauliflower Mbatan  and Potato Mbatan . Mbatan Kawali is the exception, small fish stuffed with potato, garlic and coriander.

The stuffed fried fish are usually served as an appetizer or side dish, and as with all seafood meals in Libya is accompanied with a tomato, garlic and cumin salad.                                                              

Serves 4-6 as Main, 8-12 as Side Dish 
12 Small fish fillets (ideally Kawali, Herring is a good substitute)
Vegetable oil for frying
Potato Garlic and Coriander Filling:
3 medium size potatoes
1 cup finely chopped fresh coriander 
3 large garlic cloves
1 hot chilli
salt and pepper to taste.
Fish coating
2 beaten eggs
1 cup fine bread crumbs
1 cup white flour 

Tomato Salad
4 tomatoes, sliced
2  finely grated garlic cloves
2 tbs vinegar
2 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs ground cumin
1 tbs spoon salt
1 finely grated chilli 
1 cup finely chopped parsley

 Boil and peel the potatoes, cut into cubes, then mash with a fork.

Add the garlic and chilli mix, chopped coriander, spices and salt to the mashed potatoes.

Stuff the fish fillets with the potatoes and herb mixture.

                                           Dip each fillet in the beaten eggs.

Coat each piece with flour and bread crumbs.

          Fry in hot oil, transfer to kitchen towels to absorb excess  oil.              

Set the fried stuffed fish aside, start to prepare the tomato salad. 

  Slice the tomatoes.

Blend garlic cloves and chillies in the mixer or chop finely.

Add lemon juice, vinager and cumin, mix all the ingredients together into a paste. Rub the paste into each tomato slice from both sides. sprinkle with finely chopped parsley.  

Serve the fish mbatan with the spicy tomato salad.  

16th Mediterranean cooking event - Libya - tobias cooks! - 10.01.2011-10.02.2011


  1. I was born in Benghazi and live in the US. I'm so happy for your site as it provides me recipes, so I don't keep bothering mama for them, although her recipes are far better ;-)

  2. Thank you for the comment, I'm glad you like the blog and hope the recipes you try work out well. Of course, it is a truth universally acknowledged that mum's cooking is *always* best!

  3. Thank u so much... I tried this 2nd times already n everybody loves it. Thank uuuu

  4. You are welcome, lovely to hear you enjoyed the kawali.