Nov 092008

Mafroum melts in your mouth with a truly Sephardic aroma and taste. It’s a filling, comforting dish claimed by many ethnic groups: Moroccans, Tunisians, Libyans are some.

I made it without the cabbage that the recipe calls for, but if you do add cabbage, it becomes a near-complete meal. Served with lots of pita, you’ll need only salad or a steamed green vegetable to round it out. Since I was serving only four at the time I made this, you will see four potatoes in the photos, but the recipe is made to serve six. There was meat left over, out of which I made meatballs that cooked alongside the potatoes. It’s a lot of chopping, but the combination of meat and potatoes cooked on a low flame till tender in a delicious, spicy sauce, makes a dish well worth the effort.

You’ll need 6 bowls or containers, medium sized

Mafroum serves 6

Source: Fresh Flavors from Israel, a book from the Al HaShulchan magazine


6 medium potatoes of uniform size, peeled

salt and pepper


2 beaten eggs

Oil for frying


500 gr. ground beef

1 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/2 tsp. salt and ground black pepper

* 2/3 tsp. Baharat spice

1/3 tsp. ground turmeric

1/2 Tblsp. sweet paprika

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Chili pepper to taste

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1 potato, grated coarsely, rinsed, and drained till dry


1 large, chopped onion

4 crushed cloves of garlic

4 stalks celery, coarsely chopped

3 Tblsp. tomato paste

1/2 cup chopped tomatoes

1 tsp. salt

One-quarter of a cabbage, cut into coarse chunks

Approx. 1 liter stock or water – I used chicken soup

3 Tblsp. each of fresh mint, parsley, and celery leaves, chopped


Prepare the potatoes:

Mix the meat and seasonings for stuffing.

Beat it well to mix thoroughly, or get in there with your hands.

Cover the seasoned meat and put it away in the fridge for half an hour, to allow the seasonings to penetrate.

In the meantime, get three bowls out. You’re going to chop the ingredients for the sauce.

Chop the large onion. Put it in one bowl.

In the second bowl put the chopped garlic and celery stalks.

Dice the tomato and put it in the third bowl.

Now prepare the potatoes for stuffing. Peel the potatoes, if you haven’t already, and slice each one almost in half. Leave the bottom uncut so that the two halves stay connected. Stuff the potatoes with the seasoned meat. Pack it in. The open side will show a thicker layer of meat than the inside. With your finger, neatly pat back any meat that spills out of the opening.

In a wide pan, heat the oil for frying.

Beat the eggs.  Put about 1 cup of flour in yet another bowl and season it with s&p.

Roll the potatoes in the seasoned flour; shake them back and forth gently to cover them.

Now roll them in the beaten egg.

Fry the potatoes until golden, turning once. Tongs work better than a spatula for this.

Remove from the frying pan and put on paper towels to drain.

Pour out most of the frying oil. Saute the onion in the remaining oil, till golden.

Add the garlic and celery stalks. Fry for 4 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and chopped tomato. Stir, cover, and cook for 10 minutes on low heat.

Season with s&p again, lightly. Add the cabbage and stock or water.

Put the potatoes into the sauce, in one layer. Add the chopped mint, parsley and celery leaves. Put the lid on the pan, tilted to cover it partially. Cook over low heat for 2 hours or until the potatoes are tender.

Serve the potatoes over rice or couscous, with the sauce passed around separately if you wish.

* If Baharat spice mix isn’t available, mix these powdered spices to make your own. Blend well and keep in a tightly-lidded jar.

Baharat Spice Mix

1 Tblsp. cardamom

1 Tblsp. black pepper

1/2 Tbslp. allspice

1 Tblsp. cinnamon

1 Tblsp. dry ginger

1/2 Tblsp. nutmeg

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  23 Responses to “Mafroum – Sephardic Stuffed Potatoes”

  1. Mmmm. I’m getting hungry looking at this one. Must try it!

  2. Kitchenetta, just looking at the photos makes me hungry for Mafroum all over again. It’s worth the work. Do you have Baharat spice? That’s what makes the dish.

  3. Oh wow…that looks wonderful. I have to try it out!

  4. balabusta,

    It’s a great dish anytime, but especially comfort food-ish at this time of year. Let me know how yours turns out…

  5. Wow, I am so thrilled that MominIsrael lead me to your blog. I have not been able to find this receipe, but it is one of my favorites.

  6. Let me know how it turns out…

  7. Wow. I made this tonight and everyone agreed that it was fantastic. I also had leftover chopped meat and followed your advice to make meatballs and added them to the pot, which were an extra bonus.
    I would add the following note –
    Be sure to use a very deep pan or even a pot. I initially had the dish in a pan and as I was adding ingredients realized that I had to transfer it to a tall pot to fit everything in.
    Also, I used water and chicken soup-mix.

    There was a suggestion at the table to use smaller potatoes and make more of them in place of 4-6 larger ones. I think I’ll try it that way next time.

    The Bahrat spice is excellent! I loved the smell of it cooking and can’t wait to use it again in other dishes. Thanks for introducing me to it.

  8. Elisha,
    Thank *you* for the great comment! Really encouraging.
    Interesting that you found a deep pot more useful. I make my mafroum in a deep skillet. But – whatever works for each cook is the best.

  9. […] perusing the Israeli Kitchen blog, I became intrigued with this recipe. Also called mafroum, it is a North African style meal of stuffed vegetables (in this case, […]

  10. […] Her recipes are varied. Running the gamut from that Ashekenazic staple Kasha Varnishkas to Tunisian Mafroum (meat stuffed potatoes). She also makes her own […]

  11. this is great, i’m so glad i found it…my husband and I keep a veg kitchen so I make a mock meat mix with lentils, diced portabello mushrooms, kidney beans and allspice saute and then blend…then follow the recipe.

  12. Mmm, sounds delicious.

  13. I love your blog. I love your recipes. I love the pictures. I love your patience and passion for cooking. Does this recipe freeze well? Could I make it and freeze it for RH? Shanah TOVAH!

  14. Hi, Maral,

    Your comment made my day! But I don’t advise freezing mafroum – potatoes don’t freeze well.


  15. aaahhhhh that’s what I thought. I’m not one for freezing and defrosting meals, but this 3 day yom tov has me somewhat bewildered.

    Glad I made your day! I meant it for real ;-)

  16. My grand ma makes it once in while. It is very good. Born in Tunisia myself, I miss these good dishes. Thank you for sharing.

  17. Tiziana, I’m glad if my post made your memories brighten. I hope you make mafroum yourself soon, so that when you’re a grandma yourself someday, people will remember your cooking with love.

  18. I make this every year at Rosh Hashanna, it is a sephardi custom. I fry mine in oil just to hold them together then bake them in stewed tomatoes. I have also made this with carrots, baby eggplant and zucchini. Another variation I made for a friend who is a vegetarian, was to make it using kasha instead of chopped meat.

  19. Dom, all those variations sound excellent. Kasha…would never have thought of that. Bet it’s good!

  20. Wow, this sounds and looks so delicious! Can’t wait to try it!

  21. Tara, let me know when you do!

  22. Hi just found your website. I love the idea of this recipe shall definitely try it. Brought up in an Ashkenazy home but love the Sephardic recipes.

  23. Hilda, I favor the Sephardic way with food most of the time, and mafroum is certainly a delicious example of it.

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