Potato chop is a crunchy deep-fried potato croquette with a super flavorful sautéed beef filling. It works great as an appetizer or passed hors d’oeuvre, and goes wonderfully with tabbouleh.
Iraqi-Assyrian potato chop is remarkably similar to an Indian dish of the same name, and I would be surprised if it didn’t make its way to Iraq by way of India. There’s a lot of overlap between Indian and Middle Eastern food, with a particularly strong connection between Iraq and India (take amba and biryani, for example).
But—assuming Iraqi and Indian potato chop have a shared origin—the two dishes have each developed some subtle differences. The two most notable differences are the particular spices and the heaps of parsley in most Iraqi versions.
a few notes about this recipe
- My recipe’s filling is a spiced beef filling with cilantro and parsley. It’s super herby and flavorful.
- You can use any Middle Eastern baharat blend in place of all the spices.
- For my potato crust, I use a little more corn starch than most recipes call for, which might seem like a boring filler. But it gives the potatoes a more consistent texture, and helps them hold together for deep frying.
- If you become a potato chop pro, you can scale back the amount of corn starch as you become better at shaping the patties.
- By far, the hardest thing about making potato chop is shaping the patties. There’s definitely a trick to it, and I’ve included detailed instructions in the recipe below. A few important tips for troubleshooting:
- Don’t over-stuff them. If you’re having trouble shutting and sealing them, it’s probably because you’re using too much filling.
- Make sure you use the right amount of corn starch. If you use too little (or way too much), your dough will crack a bit as you try to shape them.
- Apply even pressure as you shape them. Don’t just smash them together or they will crack and start to fall apart. Place even pressure between your hands and gently shape them into a somewhat flat disc. If you have trouble shaping them into discs, you can always just leave them as spheres and fry them in a tiny bit more oil.
more potato chop recipes
Vegan Iraqi Food’s vegan potato chops (in English or Arabic)
Denise D’silva Sankhé’s Indian Potato Chops
For an easier version, try my potato chop skillet
- Prep Time: 60 minutes
- Total Time: 90 minutes
- Yield: about 16 potato chops
For the potato dough:
- 2 pounds 12 ounces potatoes (about 5 medium-large russet potatoes)
- 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, or to taste
For the filling:
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup minced onion (from 1/2 of 1 large or 1 medium onion)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed with a garlic press
- 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika *
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 9 to 10 ounces lean ground beef
- 3 tablespoons minced parsley
- 3 tablespoons minced cilantro
To assemble and fry:
- 3 cups oil for deep frying
- 2 beaten eggs, seasoned with a pinch of salt
- About 1 cup breadcrumbs (either homemade or store-bought)
- Make the potato dough: Peel and dock the potatoes with a fork, and then microwave until they’re cooked through completely (about 15 minutes in my microwave).
- Mash them very well with a potato masher until there are no more lumps (if there are any stubborn lumps, microwave them for a couple more minutes).
- Set aside to cool. Once the mashed potatoes are no longer hot, add the corn starch and salt, and mix together for about 1 minute, until it forms a dough.
- Make the filling: While the potatoes are cooking (or after), heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add the onions and cook, stirring every minute or so, until they brown slightly and soften, about 5 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low, add the salt, garlic, paprika, allspice, cumin, coriander, and black pepper, and give everything a stir. Immediately add the ground beef, then turn the heat to high, and mix everything together, breaking up any big clumps.
- Keep stirring until any juices have evaporated and the meat has browned, about 5 minutes.
- Remove the meat from heat and let it cool to room temperature. Once it’s cool enough, add the parsley and cilantro and stir to combine.
- Assemble and fry: Take a handful of potato dough (just under 1/4 cup) and flatten it out in the palm of your hand, until it’s about 1/4 inch thick. Add about 2 tablespoons of the meat to the center of the flattened potato dough, and gently fold the sides up, molding it into a ball around the meat. It will be much more fragile than a wheat dough, but once you squeeze everything together, it should hold together. Carefully flatten the ball by cupping it in your hands, also putting pressure on the sides as you press it into a disc. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients, pacing yourself as you go to make sure you don’t have anything left over at the end.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan with deep sides, until it’s 350° F. Make sure your pan is big enough that it won’t bubble over.
- While you’re waiting on the oil to heat, bread the potato chops: Drop one of the potato chops into the eggwash and flip it to coat both sides. Drop the coated potato chop in the breadcrumbs, flipping it and making sure the whole thing is well-covered. Continue with the rest of the potato chops and let them rest for about 5 minutes on a sheet pan before deep frying.
- Once the oil has heated, carefully add about 4 potato chops (or enough to cover the bottom of the pan with some space between them). They should be covered by oil at least halfway up their sides, most likely completely submerged. Let them cook for about 3 minutes on one side, and then carefully flip and cook for 1 more minute (if they are only partially submerged, you may need to cook the second side a minute longer).
- Remove to a paper towel lined plate and serve immediately. If you’re not serving them immediately, you can keep them in a warm oven for about an hour, or you could refrigerate them for a couple days, and then toast them in a toaster oven to reheat.
* If you mix up a batch of my baharat, you could just use that instead of this blend of spices.
Delicious! My grandmother probably learned to make these from her Iraqi mom-in-law (we’re mostly Armenian).
Dad & I are going to try your recipe.
What do you serve with these??
Ah potato chop is just the best! They go great with fattoush, kebabs, and hummus!
Coco in the Kitchen
My dad’s 1/2 Assyrian and his mom used to make Chop for us. It was DIVINE!
Yours appears to be the closest to my grandma’s recipe. Can’t wait to try it.
Ah there’s nothing like potato chop! Hope you enjoy this recipe, and what an honor that it reminds you of your grandma’s 😀
Can these be prepared in advance and frozen, ready to fry on the day you want to eat them?
Great question! I’ve never tried freezing them before frying, but I have made them ahead and refrigerated them, and they fry great the next day. You can refrigerate them for up to 36 hours.
I can’t absolutely vouch for freezing them, because potatoes occasionally get a funky texture in the freezer, but my guess is that it would work just fine. Let me know how it goes if you try it!
These look awesome! Do you think baking them might work instead of frying? Dad is supposed to stay away from deep-fried food unfortunately.
Thanks A! Yes I think baking might work too! I would just spray the breaded chops with a little bit of cooking spray first, if your dad’s diet allows (but less than with deep frying), otherwise they might not brown properly in the oven. With cooking spray, you can control how much oil ends up in the finished dish. You could also use lean ground turkey, quorn, or mushrooms in the filling if he’s trying to stay away from saturated fat, and you can cut back on the oil in the recipe too. Hope that helps!
This could be perfect for leftover mashed potatoes don’t you think? Probably needing a bit more corn starch since the potatoes would be more moist. I make left over mashed potato patties all the time, but I would love to try adding the beef mixture into it!
Oh that’s a lovely idea! I think you’re right to suggest adding more cornstarch if you’re using leftover mashed potatoes, since some mashed potatoes have like a gallon of cream and butter—as you say, sometimes they’re more moist than just plain mashed potatoes, and they might be more likely to fall apart. I’d love to hear how it goes if you give it a try!