Emmaís Mahkuda with Harissa

MAHKUDA is an Algerian dish which Safta used to make all the time and now my mother-in-law makes during the high holidays. Iíve taken the same ingredients but constructed it as more of a traditional tortilla-style, which works well served both hot and cold; the addition of the cumin and harissa makes it earthy and warming with a gentle kick.


  • 6-7 medium sized potatoes
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions, finely diced
  • 300ml of olive oil
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp of harissa or more if you want more heat
  • 1 tsp of ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper


Cut the potatoes in half vertically and then slice each half thinly so you have half-moon shapes; use a mandolin if you have one.

Add the potatoes to a large bowl with the onion, season with some salt and mix together to combine.

Heat all but one tablespoon of the oil in a non-stick frying pan and when itís hot, turn the heat down to medium and add the potatoes and onion. You donít want to fry these too quickly; the potatoes should be cooked through but not colour. Turn very carefully in the oil every 5 minutes. Cook for 20 minutes in total or until the potatoes are soft all the way through.

Drain the potatoes in a sieve over a bowl to reserve the oil ó this has so much flavour, you absolutely want to keep it for other uses.

Whisk the eggs in a large bowl and mix in the harissa and cumin. Season again with salt and pepper and add the potatoes back in. Mix very gently to avoid breaking up the potatoes.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the same frying pan and add the egg and potato mixture.

You want the heat medium low here (donít burn the bottom), so cook for around 4 to 5 minutes. Place a plate larger than the diameter of the frying pan over the top and very carefully turn the Mahkuda over onto the plate.

Now, you are going to put it back into the pan to cook the other side, adding in any potato thatís escaped! Tuck the edges in with a spatula if need be to make a nice shape.

Cook for a further 3 minutes and then repeat the process as before, placing the plate over the top and turning the frying pan over. The Mahkuda should be lovely and golden.

Serve with a nice crisp salad or some cooked meats.

Note: Feel free to be creative and add olives, peppers and any other Mediterranean flavours you feel appropriate.

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