Fried Bestile

Fried bestile hold a special place among the Libyan Jewish recipes that I love the most (and that nevertheless, I rarely prepare), because they have a magical madeleine effect on me. One bite is enough to vividly remind me of my childhood, especially the Shabbat evenings spent in the house of my grandparents with the vast tribe of my cousins.

Bestile fritte - Libyan Fried Bestile

These indulgent fried mashed potato patties stuffed with ground beef are one of my Aunt Lois’ specialties. My aunt often prepared them as an appetizer for all special occasions and Jewish holidays. All the kids loved bestile, and we all jumped at the serving tray to grab at least a couple of bestile before they were gone.

Bestile fritte - Libyan Fried Bestile

In my opinion, these patties are a labor-intensive dish. The preparation of the ingredients, the shaping of the bestile, not to mention frying them, are all time-consuming steps, and by the time you finish this recipe, your kitchen will resemble a battlefield.
However, be aware that few appetizers in the world will bring you as much pure unadulterated joy as freshly fried bestile, wrapped in paper towels and eaten with your hands when they are still hot, crispy, and soft inside, straight from the pan.

Bestile fritte - Libyan Fried Bestile

Bestile fritte - Libyan Fried Bestile

Libyan Fried Bestile

No ratings yet
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Jewish
Servings 15 large bestile


  • 9 medium-sized potatoes
  • 450 g minced beef
  • 50 g chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons chopped parsley
  • 3 eggs for dredging
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour for dredging
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • black pepper to taste
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • vegetable oil for frying as needed


  • In a large pot, boil the potatoes in plenty of hot, unsalted water; you can peel them before or after cooking, as the results do not change. When finished, mash the potatoes into a puree with a fork or with a special mashing tool, and then set aside.
    9 medium-sized potatoes
  • The filling can be prepared in two ways, stewed or sautée. If you prefer making it stewed, cook the chopped meat in a pan with the onion and parsley, with enough water to cover the ingredients, taking care to add the salt, pepper, and cinnamon midway through cooking. If you prefer the sautée method, which is tastier in my opinion, but I suspect less traditional, sautée the onion and meat in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, then add parsley and seasonings, stirring well on a high flame, until the meat is well-cooked. In any case, at the end of the cooking, taste the meat and evaluate if it needs more salt, cinnamon, or black pepper, keeping in mind that the potatoes are not seasoned, therefore the flavor will be provided mainly by the stuffing.
    450 g minced beef, 50 g chopped onion, 2 teaspoons chopped parsley, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, black pepper to taste, salt to taste, 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Next, you have to form the bestile, dip them in egg, and dredge in flour, and then finally fry them. Lay out on the counter the bowl with the potato mash, the pot with the meat stuffing, a small bowl with flour, another small bowl with the three eggs, lightly beaten, and lastly, a sheet of parchment paper.
    3 eggs for dredging, 1 cup all-purpose flour for dredging
  • Place a large portion of potato mash in the palm of your hand, trying to get an oval shape about 1/2 cm thick. In the middle of the oval, place a couple of teaspoons of meat filling, then try to close the potato mixture over the meat, without making it overflow and without mixing it too much with the potatoes. The idea is to get a football-shaped mashed potato patty, a bit flattened in the middle, where it is filled with meat. Clearly, should the potatoes and meat happen to mix, it would not be a major disaster, but the skills of the cook are measured by these small details!
  • After shaping each bestila, dredge it well in flour, and place it on the parchment paper. With the doses indicated you should get about 15 bestile.
  • Warm up plenty of frying oil in a pan that can hold two or three bestile at a time. When the oil is ready for frying (you can test the temperature with the apple slice method), dip one bestila at a time in the beaten egg, let it gently drip for a second, and then drop it delicately in the boiling oil, being careful not to burn yourself.
    vegetable oil for frying as needed
  • Allow the bestile to fry a few minutes per side until they begin to turn golden, and then drain them on a plate covered with paper towels.
  • Serve the bestile hot or cold (they are delicious either way, regardless of the temperature), as an appetizer or as a main course.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Bestile fritte - Libyan Fried Bestile

Afraid of sputtering and splattering oil? I understand. That’s why oven-baked bestile exists! I’m not gonna lie, the fried version is better, but if you are feeling lazy or not ready yet to tackle the task of deep frying, we have a solution for you.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rating della ricetta