Thursday, April 2, 2015

Chettinad Style Urulai Vadhakkal

 It is not as often as my husband would like it, that I cook potatoes. On most of my visits to the market, I find only a whole bag of wilting potatoes and the vendors are not willing to break the bag. I try not to buy them. They have to be consumed early to avoid rotting. And a big bag of potatoes are way too much for just the two of us.
Lately this has changed, there is improvement, in quality. The other day, a particular lady who sells me fruits had a crate of small size, clean looking, potatoes. Soon as we spotted it, my husband instructed the driver to buy from her a kilo and she dropped into my shopping bag just a little more. These were good size for the dum aloo recipe and I had a lot more. Some of those potatoes were a wee bit larger than the baby potatoes, which I used in this curry. I halved them and used in this recipe.
I am not sure if it is truly Chettinad style. I found the recipe in a cookbook which has titled the recipe thus. I have not adhered to the recipe from the book totally; lot of tweaks and shortcuts were done and added a few for my touch too. Nonetheless,  this is a spicy stir fried version of the potatoes that use a lot of aromatic spices that render a hint of extra heat to the potatoes. I kept making changes, as I was cooking and this recipe in the post is the result of all my whim and fancy.

Chettinad Style Urulai Vadhakkal - Stir Fried Potatoes in a Spicy Mix

Serves 4 people
About 20 baby potatoes (or you may use small size potatoes cut in two, which is what I did)
2 large red onions sliced fine
1 or 2 tomatoes (depending on their size)
1 tablespoon oil for brushing on potatoes
1 tablespoon gingelly oil for cooking
3 pods of garlic minced(optional)
11/2” piece ginger minced
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
10 black peppercorns crushed coarsely
Salt to taste

Spices (to be dry roasted and crushed in a mortor coarsely)
1” piece cinnamon
2 cardamoms
4 -5 cloves
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 red chilli
1 small piece of bay leaf
Some kalpasi (edible stone fungus)(Optional)

1 teaspoon oil
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 dry red chillis
2 sprigs of curry leaves
A little of the sliced onions (from the above sliced lot) can be reserved

If you have baby potatoes use them as whole. Otherwise, cut medium size potatoes  in big chunks.
Pressure cook/ boil just until you will be able to remove the peel.
Sprinkle some of the salt, turmeric powder and the red chilli powder on them and toss them in the one tablespoon cooking oil.
Spread them on a baking tray lined with aluminium foil and bake at 200 degrees C for 40 minutes.
While the potatoes are baking, dry roast the spices and make a coarse spice mix.
Remove the potatoes from the oven and keep them ready until the curry mix is cooked.
Heat the gingelly oil in a heavy bottomed pan. 
Saute’ the onion slices kept aside for tempering until they are crisp. Drain and remove from pan and keep aside.
In the same hot oil, saute the rest of the onion slices, ginger and garlic until the onions are transparent. Add the spice mix and toss to remove any lingering raw taste.
Chop the tomatoes and add to the above with required salt.
Cook until the tomatoes are pulped and the whole mix has thickened.
Add the potatoes, adjust the salt, if required and toss them in the pan until the spicy tomato onion mix coats the potatoes well.
Add the pepper corns powder and toss. Remove from heat.
Transfer to a serving dish.

Heat the oil for tempering in a pan, add the mustard seeds, broken red chillis and curry leaves. Allow the mustard seeds to crackle and the chillis and curry leaves are crisp.
Temper the cooked potato curry with this and add the crisp onion slices to garnish.
Serve with a meal as side dish.


  1. I m literally drooling looking at the photo's!!! Loving it totally!!!

  2. it looks really good, it put me in the mood for something like this!

  3. Just used the baby potatoes for Alu Dum. Next batch for sure ! Such a flurry of posts. I like !


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