Ala Hodhi (Potato Curry)

By Home cook Sharmini Jayawardena

Sri Lankan (Sinhala) cuisine. This is a side dish to be had with plain steamed rice and other accompaniments, such as chicken curry, mutton curry , wild boar curry, boanchi curry, salaadhey, tomato curry, tempered ladies finger, seeni sambol, pol sambol and any of the other delicious side dishes which will be shared here from Leaf’s kitchen on Gournome over the coming weeks. 

Ala hodhi can also be had with string hoppers, hoppers, pittu and pol roti.


480 gm potato (I used Australian Chat)
3 sprigs curry leaf cut into halves
4 green chilies cut into halves
½ medium size onion sliced
¾ tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp spice mix powder 
¾ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp chili powder
2” piece Ceylon cinnamon
¾ cup coconut cream 
2 1/4 cups water
½ cup coconut cream
1 ½ tsps sea salt
½ tsp Maldive fish shavings (Optional)


  1. Wash and boil the potatoes. 
  1. Drain the water into the container where you save water for watering your plants. 
  1. Peel the potatoes while they are warm and cut into chunks. 
  1. Add the curry mix, turmeric and chili powders to the chunks of potatoes and carefully mix.

5. Prepare the thin coconut milk by adding ¾ cup coconut cream and 2 ¼ cups water together and mixing well. (If you are using scrapped fresh coconut then this is your second squeeze of milk. Save the first squeeze for later.)

6. Add the light coconut milk to the pan you’re going to cook the curry in.

7. Add the sliced onion, halved green chilies, Ceylon cinnamon and curry leaves to the thin coconut milk.

Ceylon cinnamon

8. Place on the stove on low heat and bring to a low boil. Always hold the pan with the handles and turn the gravy round in order to mix the Curry. Do not use spoons as you will break the chunks of potato in doing so.

9. When the solution warms up, add the chunks of potato into the pan and keep turning the gravy around so as not to curdle the gravy. Always keep turning the gravy. Mix well.

10.Add the salt and give it a stir.

11. When the onions and other wet ingredients are done, add the coconut cream or thick milk which is your first squeeze of milk. Always keep turning the gravy around. Always on low heat.

12. When the gravy reaches a light boil add the fenugreek seed and remove from fire.

13. Add ½ tsp of curry mix powder to a frying pan and roast it. Sprinkle the roasted curry mix over the potato curry, cover and keep until ready to serve. This gives the curry a nice aroma.

Potatoes are known as arthapal in the Sinhala language. Likely a direct transfer from the Dutch earth apple pronounced aardappel.

“The Dutch presence in Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon) lasted 150 years officially from 1658 when the Dutch expelled the Portuguese, until 1796, the year of the British occupation. However, the first encounter with the island dates back to 1602, when Joris van Spilbergen arrived on the eastern coast.”

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