This dish brings back lots of childhood memories for me. My parents were good friends with a couple from Kerala who were closer to my grandparent’s age. We would all go to their place occasionally for the odd treat. On one such occasion, we were treated to homemade idiyappam and this potato istew. My mother got the recipe and made it a few times. This recipe is based from that memory. The idiyappam requires special equipment to make so I have just used store bought rice vermicelli making this fairly simple and easy to prepare.

Malabari Potato Istew


600g waxy potatoes

200g onion, thinly sliced

3tbsps coconut oil

1tsp mustard seeds

½-1tsp turmeric powder

8 -10 green chillies, slit in the middle (you can adjust based on your taste and how hot the chillies are)

400ml coconut milk

A pinch of sugar

Salt to taste


250g rice vermicelli (thin ones – you can get them in any Asian store)


Boil the potatoes in their skin. When cool enough, remove skin and cut them in to a small 1-2 cm dice. Set aside.

Heat coconut oil in a sauté pan. Add the mustard seeds and when they start to crackle, add the chillies. Fry them for a couple of minutes as frying reduces their chilliness.

Toss in the onions and cook on a medium to low heat for 15 minutes. Frying them this way gives a sweetness to the dish. Add the turmeric powder and after frying a few seconds, add the diced potato pieces and salt along with a pinch of sugar. Fry to mix everything. Pour in the coconut milk and simmer for five minutes. If too thick, thin down with water. Serve with the rice vermicelli.

For the rice vermicelli

Soak the rice vermicelli in cold water for half an hour. Drain out the cold water. Once soaked, use a scissors to cut them to manageable lengths if needed. Now add hot water from a freshly boiled kettle. Allow to sit for a minute. Drain well and serve immediately.

To serve

Put a portion of the rice vermicelli in the centre of your bowl. Pour the potato istew around it and garnish with the chillies fished out from the pot.

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