Go Back
+ servings
Close up shot of sri lankan deviled potatoes.

Deviled Potatoes – Sri Lankan Potato Fry (Ala Thel Dala)

With a big flavour punch, this Sri Lankan dry potato curry is no ordinary side dish! Also known as Ala Thel Dala, fry these simple spicy potatoes in just 20 minutes.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Sri Lankan
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 sides
Calories 236kcal
Cost $5



  • Pop your potato pieces in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Cook for around 10 minutes, until they're just starting to become tender, then drain.
    4 potatoes
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a large frypan and add in your sliced onions. Stir fry over a medium heat until they soften and turn translucent (around 3 minutes).
    1 onion, 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Next, pop in your curry leaves, black mustard seeds, turmeric powder, chilli and a pinch of salt.
    5-10 curry leaves, 1 ½ tsp black mustard seeds, 1 tsp turmeric powder, pinch salt, ½ tsp chilli powder
  • Add your cooked potatoes and stir through til nicely coated. Fry for a few more minutes until the surface of the potatoes is golden brown.
  • Garnish with a few extra curry leaves and fresh chilli slices if you want a little extra zing! Serve with freshly cooked rice and/or your favourite curry.
    1 small red chilli


  • Potatoes - You can use any kind of potato for this recipe. We usually use kestrel potatoes, which are bright and colourful with a super creamy texture once cooked.
  • Curry Leaves - You can buy fresh curry leaves from supermarkets or grocers. While it's possible to source dried curry leaves online, the flavour won't be as strong or as fresh. Please don’t be tempted to substitute fresh curry leaves for curry powder. The two are definitely not the same and the flavour is a total contrast - curry powder is actually a blend of powdered spices including cumin, turmeric, coriander, fenugreek leaves and chilli. If you can’t source curry leaves, you could try substituting with other herbs like basil, lemon basil or kaffir lime leaves. The flavour won’t be the same, but they’ll still help to bring your dish to life. Store any leftover curry leaves in the freezer in an airtight bag or container.
  • Spices - This recipe uses of a fragrant blend of chilli powder, black mustard seeds and turmeric powder which gives the potatoes such a wonderful flavour and golden colour. Thankfully, you should have no trouble finding all of these at a supermarket, import store or online. 
  • Stir frequently to prevent the spices from burning.
  • Onions - Cook the onions until just caramelised to retain a hint of sweetness, or keep cooking until blackened for extra crispy texture.
  • Bake Potatoes Instead of Boiling (2 Ways)
    1. Smother the uncooked potato cubes in the cooked spices and pop them on a lined baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil or leave it off, it's up to you. Bake for around 30 minutes at 200˚C (400˚F) until the potato is cooked through and the edges are crispy.
    2. Wrap the potato cubes in little pockets of aluminium foil (one portion per person) along with the spices and a drizzle of olive oil. The trapped steam will help infuse all those lovely flavours and aromas from the spices into the potatoes. Bake in the oven or on a super hot grill for around 30 minutes, and be careful of escaping steam when unwrapping the foil. It's a good idea to wrap in two layers of foil to make sure the steam can't escape while cooking.
  • Use Chilli Jam - Use your favourite chilli jam or chutney instead of the fresh spices for an easy shortcut.
  • Make it Saucy - While Ala Thel Dala is traditionally a dry curry, you can create a gravy by adding 60ml (1/4 cup) of coconut milk. Cover and simmer on low heat for around 5 minutes until the sauce starts to thicken.
  • Make it Meal - Add chicken or veggies such as carrots, cauliflower or broccoli - with or without the sauce variation above.
  • Get Creative with Leftovers - Stuff leftover curried potatoes in homemade samosas or pastries. Make toasted sandwiches or regular sandwiches with fresh bread and butter. Yum!


Calories: 236kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Sodium: 29mg | Potassium: 970mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 254IU | Vitamin C: 67mg | Calcium: 78mg | Iron: 7mg