Chettinad aloo fry (spicy potatoes)


For the ground spices:

  • 6 dry red chilies

  • 3 tbsp split black gram (urad dal)

  • 5-6 black peppercorns

For the cooking:

  • 250 gm potatoes (2-3 medium-sized ones)

  • 3 tbsp cooking oil

  • ½ tsp mustard seeds

  • 10-15 curry leaves

  • 1-2 medium onions

  • Salt, to taste



  1. Boil and peel the potatoes. Be careful not to over-boil them – we need them firm and soft, rather than mushy. Keep aside.

  2. Once the potatoes cool, pierce them gently with a fork to prepare them for absorbing the spices later. Chop into cubes.

  3. To make the ground spices, in a pan, put the red chilies, split black gram, and peppercorns. Dry roast until the dal gives off a fragrant aroma and turns light brown. After it cools, grind this mix to a powder. Your spice mix is ready!

  4. Note – This recipe yields enough spice mix (masala) to be used 2-3 times and it can be stored in a dry, airtight container. Each time, you can use about 2-3 tsp of the powder, depending on how strong you like the flavor.

  5. Heat the oil. You can use the same non-stick pan you may have used earlier. Add in the mustard seeds and curry leaves, and let them splutter for 10-20 seconds.

  6. Then add in the onions, and saute till the onions are light brown.

  7. Add the potatoes. Mix well and add just a little bit of salt.

  8. Then add as much of the ground powder as you want (2-3 tsp). Mix it well, ensuring that the potatoes are fully coated in the spice mix.

  9. Cover and cook on low heat for 2-3 mins to allow the potatoes to absorb the spices. Turn off the gas and keep the pan covered for 5 more minutes.

  10. Enjoy hot with chapati, rice, or on its own!



    • This aromatic recipe is prepared in the Chettinad style of cooking, which uses freshly roasted and ground spices. You need just a handful of ingredients, all of which are hopefully lying around in the kitchen, and the preparation takes less than 15 minutes.

    • Chettinad aloo is called for on days when you need a flavour explosion in your mouth. The boiled potatoes are perfumed and coated with the spices to bring together this simple vegetarian roast dish.

    • Makes 2-4 servings.

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