Because it’s Ramadan, and it’s difficult for Fahim to eat a full meal when breakfast has to be done by 4:30am, enough to carry him through the next 14 hours until he can eat again, he gets to make requests. At the beginning of Ramadan, Fahim had asked for his mother’s chilli potatoes. While she’s taught me quite a few of her recipes, I haven’t learned everything, or perhaps I cooked it with her but forgot to write it down. I can’t always keep track of what I’ve got and what I don’t. 😀

So the next time Fahim’s parent’s were in town, Fahim asked his mom to make them and show me so I could learn her recipe. She did, and here it is – one of Fahim’s favourite potato dishes.

Mama Farook’s Sri Lankan Chilli Potatoes


  • 3-4 tablespoons oil
  • 2-3 curry leaves (optional)
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 green chillies, split in half lengthways
  • 2 teaspoon red chilli pepper powder (or cayenne or paprika or red chilli pepper flakes)
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons Maldive fish flakes (optional)
  • 4 medium potatoes, boiled in salt water, drained and chunked
  • salt to taste


  1. Put oil into pot over medium-high heat.
  2. When the oil is hot, add the curry leaves, onion, garlic, and green chillies. Stir constantly. The oil should be hot enough to bubble.
  3. Add the red chilli pepper powder, turmeric, and Maldive fish flakes. Stir to ensure even distribution of spices.
  4. Add potatoes and stir gently so as to not break up the potatoes. Make sure potatoes are even coated and heated all the way through, around 5 minutes.
  5. A minute or two from the end, add boiled eggs or chicken (if using) and stir to combine.
  6. Remove from heat.

We use virgin coconut oil for our cooking – it gives Sri Lankan curries a subtle but important flavour. If you can’t get it, use an unflavoured oil.

I’ve marked both curry leaves and Maldive fish flakes as optional because there is no real substitute for either. If you can get those ingredients, the curry would, of course, taste better. 🙂

Use less red chilli pepper powder if you/your family doesn’t handle spices well. Alternately, substitute a portion of the red chilli pepper powder with black pepper powder.

You can use whatever type of hot chilli pepper you like, or you may omit.

Optionally, you can add four boiled eggs – Fahim tells me that’s done commonly enough. This time, at Fahim’s request, I added some deep-fried chicken cubes. Recipe follows.

Deep Fried Chicken Cubes


  • 500 grams chicken, cubed
  • 2 teaspoons red chilli pepper powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Mix all ingredients and set aside for an hour or so for the chicken to marinate.
  2. Heat oil in deep fryer or pot.
  3. When the oil is sufficiently hot, add the chicken cubes, a portion at a time, and deep fry until the chicken cubes are golden brown.
  4. Remove from the hot oil and drain.
  5. Repeat with the remaining chicken cubes.

deep fried chilli chicken

The chicken complimented the potatoes very well and, yep, it turned out Fahim had no problem eating this at 4am. Hallelujah!

Even better, I loved it, too. 🙂

Tags: Sri Lankan cuisine, , chilli potatoes, ,

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