Chips Mayai (French Fry Omelet)

published Apr 30, 2021
Chips Mayai (French Fry Omelet)

This Tanzanian street food dish is a tasty omelette consisting of fries and mayai, the Swahili word for eggs, and aromatics.

Serves2 to 4

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chips mayai
Credit: Courtesy of Kiano Moju/Jikoni

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Chips mayai, the Tanzanian street food dish, is a humble omelet consisting of chips (fries) and mayai (the Swahili word for eggs). The combination of vegetables can vary, sometimes prepared with just chips and eggs, or the addition of aromatics. Aside from the potato cut, the way chips mayai are served is what sets this dish apart from the very similar Spanish tortilla. The most common toppings are tomato-based East African tomato sauce (ketchup) or a simple kachumbari, or tomato salad. 

Chips Mayai (French Fry Omelet)

This Tanzanian street food dish is a tasty omelette consisting of fries and mayai, the Swahili word for eggs, and aromatics.

Serves 2 to 4

Nutritional Info


  • 1

    small red onion

  • 1

    medium tomato

  • 1 pound

    waxy potatoes

  • 1 handful

    fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems

  • Neutral oil, such as vegetable, for deep frying

  • 4

    large eggs

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    chili powder, preferably kashmiri

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • Garnish options: kachumbari (fresh onion and tomato salad), ketchup


  1. Thinly slice 1 small red onion. Dice 1 medium tomato. Peel and cut 1 pound waxy potatoes lengthwise into 1/2-inch thick planks. Stack the planks and cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch wide sticks. Coarsely chop 1 handful fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems.

  2. Add enough neutral oil to a 10-inch non-stick frying pan to lightly coat the bottom. Heat over medium heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the onion and cook until beginning to soften, 4 to 5 minutes.

  3. Add the tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes have let off their liquid, 3 to 5 minutes. Season well with kosher salt and transfer to a medium bowl. Set the pan aside to use later, no need to wash.

  4. Add the cilantro, 4 large eggs, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, to the tomatoes and season with kosher salt. Whisk to combine.

  5. Fill a medium pot with 2-inches neutral oil and heat to 350°F. Pat the potatoes dry with a towel. Working in 2 batches, fry the potatoes in the oil until tender and lightly golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and lightly season with kosher salt.

  6. Melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in the frying pan over medium-low heat. Pour in the egg mixture and scramble until halfway cooked. Spread into an even layer. Add the fries in an even layer and press into the eggs. Gently shake the pan to keep the bottom from sticking.

  7. Invert a large plate wider than the pan over the skillet. Holding the plate with a kitchen towel or oven mitt, flip the pan and plate in one motion to transfer the omelette onto the plate.

  8. Add a little frying oil to the pan. Slide the omelette back into the pan and cook until the bottom is set, 2 to 3 minutes more. Serve with ketchup or topped with if kachumbari desired.

Recipe Notes

Potato substitution: Frozen french fries can be used in place of the potatoes. Cook according to package directions.