Potato Palya Is the Buttery Potato Stir-Fry You’ll Make on Repeat

published Jul 28, 2020
Potato Palya

This spicy and tangy potato Palya, or potato stir-fry wrapped in masala dosa, melt in your mouth.

Serves6

Prep10 minutes

Cook20 minutes to 25 minutes

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Credit: Photo by Madhumita Sathishkumar

This is the special potato palya or potato stir-fry that is filled into masala dosa, though I make this recipe on its own quite a bit as well. The potatoes are spicy and tangy and cooked with a little butter until they are soft enough to melt in your mouth. You can apply the same technique to steamed sweet potato or squash, such as butternut, acorn, or kabocha, which is wonderful as a dumpling filling. 

Over the years, I’ve served potato palya many different ways for events I’ve hosted. I’ve put the potatoes inside a butter lettuce leaf with mint chutney for a spin on Asian lettuce wraps, and on corn tortillas with mole chutney for Indian tacos. They’re perfect as a side to eggs, too.

Credit: Photo by Madhumita Sathishkumar

Potato Palya

This spicy and tangy potato Palya, or potato stir-fry wrapped in masala dosa, melt in your mouth.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes to 25 minutes

Serves 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds

    red or Yukon gold potatoes

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 1 (1-inch) piece

    fresh ginger

  • 1

    medium yellow onion

  • 1

    fresh green Indian or serrano chile, or 1 dried red chile (such as Guntur Sannam, cayenne, or arbol)

  • 1 tablespoon

    freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more as needed

  • 2 tablespoons

    fresh cilantro

  • 2 tablespoons

    canola or vegetable oil, plus more as needed

  • 1 tablespoon

    ghee or unsalted butter

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    black mustard seeds

  • Pinch

    asafetida (hing) powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    chana dal (dried split chickpeas)

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    skinned urad dal (dried split matpe beans)

  • 4 to 5

    fresh curry leaves

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    ground turmeric

Instructions

  1. Place 1 1/2 pounds potatoes and 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a large saucepan and add enough cool water to cover by at least 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Simmer until the potatoes are cooked through and tender, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, peel and grate a 1-inch piece fresh ginger until you have 2 teaspoons. Dice 1 medium yellow onion. Trim and chop 1 Indian green chile or serrano chile (remove the seeds and membranes first if you want it less spicy), or stem and break 1 dried red chile in half. Squeeze 1 tablespoon lemon juice and coarsely chop 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro.

  2. Drain the potatoes and let cool until warm. Coarsely chop into bite-size pieces.

  3. Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil and 1 tablespoon ghee or butter in a wok or large frying pan until the oil is shimmering. Add in 1 black mustard seed. When it sizzles and pops, add 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds and a pinch of asafetida powder. Immediately cover the pan when the mustard seeds start popping. When the popping starts to subside, add 1/2 teaspoon chana dal and 1/2 teaspoon urad dal. Stir to coat with the oil and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring often so they evenly toast, until they turn a reddish golden-brown color and smell nutty, less than 1 minute.

  4. Rub 4 to 5 fresh curry leaves between your fingers a little to release their natural oils and drop them, the ginger, and chopped or dried chile into the pan. Immediately cover the pan, as moisture from curry leaves will cause the oil to spurt. Once the sputtering stops, stir to evenly coat everything with oil and continue to fry for 10 to 15 seconds.

  5. Add the onion and 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric. Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened and translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring often, until they start to become soft and mashable. If the pan is getting dry, add a little oil as needed.

  6. Remove from the heat. Add the lemon juice and cilantro and stir to combine. Taste and season with more lemon juice and kosher salt as needed. Use as a filling for dosa to make masala dosa, or as a side to any meal.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 4 days.

Chitra Agrawal’s Weeknight South Indian Cooking Guide

This recipe is part of our weeknight South Indian cooking guide, designed to bring the vibrant and colorful cuisine of South India into your kitchen. Head to the intro piece to read more from Chitra, and check out all of the recipes below.

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Huli is a spicy lentil and vegetable stew served daily in Karnataka homes, usually with rice. This is a quick, one-pot version, made with baby spinach and red lentils.
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Potato Palya
This is the special potato palya or potato stir-fry that is filled into masala dosa, though it can also be eaten on its own. The potatoes are spicy and tangy and cooked with a little butter until they are soft enough to melt in your mouth.
Go to Recipe
4 / 5
Cilantro Coconut Chutney
Coconut chutney is the quintessential South Indian condiment. It's usually served with idlis, dosas, or fried appetizers, but is equally delicious on a sandwich or just mixed with hot rice.
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Chitra's Chitranna (Shredded Cabbage, Lime & Peanut Rice)
A variation of nimbekai chitranna, made with sautéed shredded red cabbage and carrots tossed with cooked turmeric rice, fried peanuts, lime juice and chopped cilantro.
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Credit: Kitchn