Spicy Sri Lankan Devilled Potatoes (Ala Tel Dala)

When I  first came to Sri Lanka in 2003 I have to be honest and say that it took some time for my western palate to adapt to some of the fiery dishes on offer here. The following dish, however, I was instantly addicted to. I adore potatoes and to have them served fried with onions was already a favourite. Add some fragrant spices to that and I was hooked. Here is my own recipe:


  • 500 (1lb) potatoes
  • Good sprig of curry leaves (10 to 15 leaves)
  • 3 onions (finely sliced)
  • 2 tsps hot chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp dired red chilli pieces
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric (Kaha)
  • 2 small green chillies (very finely cut, de-seeded if liked)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • Vegetable oil

* some people add maldive fish (dried sprats) but I’m not a fan


  1. Peel and boil potatoes and cut into 1 inch cubes. They should still be firm to avoid getting mashed potatoes later! Drain.
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the curry leaves, onions and mustard seeds until the seeds start popping.
  3. Add the green chillies and fry until the onions brown a little.
  4. Add the chilli powder, chilli pieces, turmeric and salt and fry for a few seconds before added the potato cubes.
  5. Fry the mixture for 5 to 10 minutes until the flavours have merged together and the potatoes have a reddish hue.
  6. Finally add the lime juice and serve.

This serves 4-6 people.  Eat it as part of a rice and curry meal.  I also like to smash the potatoes with a fork and slather it in between two slices of buttered fresh bread.  It makes a very spicy vegetarian sandwich.  Enjoy!

Sri Lankan Devilled Potatoes
Sri Lankan Devilled Potatoes



5 thoughts on “Spicy Sri Lankan Devilled Potatoes (Ala Tel Dala)”

  1. I love potatoes, specially in the form of Hutspot 🙂 . I am still a bit averse to those red hot things. I had deep fried sole with spicy Thai sauce last night and my cheeks are still numb!

    1. HUTSPOT!!?? In San Fran? Wow now you are making me homesick. BTW I checked that raw beef Korean salad and am doing a recipe on it soon once I have had a chance to make it which will be once my local supermarket in Sri Lanka gets SUPER fresh beef tenderloin in!!

  2. Yes, if you suspect the beef, you can freeze it first to get rid of the nasties. A day’s freezing will do. If you use sesame oil, try to find an east Asian variety. SL versions are bit too strong.
    Ya, my Oma (I have a crazily mixed family, that is even before my Papa and Mama added Japanese to the mix to make my sis and me!) taught my Mama how to cook Hutspot, because even as a tiny one, I loved it. I even associate the taste and aroma of hutspot with Oma 🙂 No offence to Mama but it is best when Oma cooks it!

  3. Thanks for your recipe.My mom went to work and there is no any curry in home that I like.So I thought of making some curry of my own.ala tel dala is my favourite.

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