Potato Tempered or Ala Thel Dhala

By Home cook Sharmini Jayawardena

Sri Lankan (Sinhala) cuisine. This is a side dish or accompaniment to be had with rice and curry. It goes well with our yellow rice or together with plain rice and other curries and sambols.

Try it with plain rice and accompaniments like, dhal curry, chicken curry, mutton curry or wild boar curry, pol sambol, seeni sambol and salaadhey, along with other side dishes.

This savoury delicacy is definitely a vegan’s delight.


3 medium size potatoes. I used Russet potatoes.
1 ½ tsps sea salt
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chilli flakes
½ tsp ground Maldive fish flakes 
¾ tsp mustard seeds
3 sprigs curry leaves (remove stems)
1 medium size big onion or 5 small or red onions sliced.
1 ½ tbls coconut oil. 


1. Wash and boil potatoes.

2. When potatoes are done, check by inserting a fork.

3. Remove from the fire and drain the boiling water into the sink while running the tap so that plankton will not be killed in the drain. An environmental precaution.

4. Peel the skin off of each potato while it is still hot.

5. Cut the potatoes into cubes and put it into a bowl like so.

6. Add the turmeric and salt and mix together with the potatoes. Make sure that the potatoes will not be broken into pieces. Take care when doing the mixing.

7. Place a kwali, wok or pan on the fire and add the coconut oil to it. Let the oil heat to frying temperature. Add the sliced onions and temper until golden brown.

8. Add the curry leaves to the pan and let it fry.

9. Add the chilli flakes and ground Maldive fish flakes and stir. Add the potatoes and fry while frying the ingredients and the potatoes together.

10. When well mixed, remove from fire and leave until you are ready to serve. 

11. Serve in a curry dish.

12. Serve in a curry dish.

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