sweet potato fry

Chilakada Dumpala Vepudu | Sweet Potato Stir Fry

Introduction To Sweet Potato:

Sweet Potato stir fry, made in South Indian style in Andhra, with a few spices and curry leaves, is mildly sweet and spicy. It is served as a side dish in any meal with hot rice and sambhar or pulusu in Andhra. Sweet Potato stir fry is very simple to make and requires very basic ingredients. Before we look at the recipe for making Sweet Potato stir fry, let us learn a few things about the vegetable, sweet potato, briefly.

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Characteristic features of Sweet Potato:

Sweet potatoes are large, sweet-tasting, starchy, tuberous root vegetables. The leaves and shoots of the sweet potato plant are also sometimes eaten as greens. Sweet potato belongs to the bindweed or morning glory family and is distantly related to the common potato.

Sweet Potato and Yam:

Sweet potato is often confused with yam but they are two different vegetables. Yams have a drier texture and more starchy content than sweet potatoes. Yam is less sweet as compared to sweet potato.

Sweet Potato and its colors:

The edible tuberous root is long and tapered with a smooth skin whose colour varies between yellow, orange, red, brown, purple, and beige. Its flesh ranges from beige, to white, red, pink, violet, yellow, orange and purple.

History And Origin Of Sweet Potato:

Sweet potatoes originated in either Central or South America. In Central America, domesticated sweet potatoes were present at least 5,000 years ago. It most likely spread and became a staple food all over tropical America, as far as Northern Mexico and on the Caribbean islands. It then spread via Peruvian or Polynesian voyages and was taken west to Easter Island and Hawaii. In the 14th century, sweet potato was transported to the Pacific Islands and New Zealand. Sweet Potatoes were first introduced to the Phillipines from Mexico by Spanish explorers and to Southern Spain. From the Phillipines, it was taken to the East Indies and India. In the late 16th century AD, due to famine in China, sweet potato was imported as a food security crop and then spread from the South across the East of the country. Portuguese traders and slave traders took the sweet potato to Africa and India. By the 18th century AD, sweet potato spread from China to Japan. (Source: www.sweetpotatoknowledge.org)

Sweet Potato In India:

In India, sweet potatoes, popularly known as shakarkand, are found throughout the year, especially during winter. Sweet potatoes, because of their fibre-dense composition have widely been used throughout India as a fasting food that satiates hunger for long periods. This is usually recommended by dieticians in the weight loss diet. In a lot of cities in India, sweet potato is roasted slowly over kitchen coals and sold as street food, garnished and eaten with chaat masala and lemon. However, the easier way in the South is simply boiling or pressure cooking before peeling, cubing and seasoning for a vegetable dish/curry as part of the meal. In TamilNadu, it is known as ‘sakkaravalli kilangu’. It is boiled and consumed as an evening snack. In some parts, fresh sweet potato is chipped, dried and then ground into flour, this is then mixed with wheat flour and baked into chapathis (bread). In other parts, sweet potato is used to make pickles and snack chips, also used as cattle fodder.

Nutritional Facts About Sweet Potato:

Sweet Potatoes are actually a good source of complex carbohydrates, which means they have solid health benefits. Cooked sweet potato is 76% water, 21% carbohydrates, 2% protein and contains negligible fat, rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Manganese and Vitamin B6. Unlike potatoes, people wanting to lose weight can happily enjoy sweet potatoes in any form. It is packed with nutrients and is disease–preventing, cancer-fighting and immune-boosting. Sweet potatoes also contain high amounts of fiber and potassium, high in antioxidants, lower GI(glycemic index), and large amounts of beta carotene. Of the thousands of vegetables available today, sweet potatoes are considered one of the most nutritious. This has led to sweet potatoes being called a superfood by many.

My Recipe My Story:

‘Drums’! The first thing that comes to my mind when I look at sweet potatoes, is the fondness my brother had for it. My mom would cut them in circular shapes with the skin and put them either in the pulusu/sambhar or make a curry, and as a little boy he would call it drums and all of us began to refer to it as ‘drums’. However, in Andhra households, sweet potatoes are referred to as ‘theeya dumpalu’ or ‘chilakada dumpalu’.

Another memory attached to sweet potato is from my school days. I did my schooling in Delhi and after school, as we would walk back home, on the way, there was this vendor who would be selling cooked and hot sweet potato, referred to as ‘shakarkand’ in Hindi. He would serve it by sprinkling some masala and some lemon on it, in a piece of newspaper. It used to look very appetizing. It continues to be served as street food in Delhi, especially during winter.

 I make the curry pretty often as my kids love it. And unlike potatoes, people wanting to lose weight can happily enjoy sweet potatoes in any form. There are various ways of preparing and enjoying sweet potato, but here I am giving the recipe of the fry that I prepare at home which can be eaten with hot rice combined with pulusu or sambhar or roti/chapathi.

sweet potato fry

Sweet Potato Stir Fry – Recipe

Sweet Potato Stir Fry Ingredients:

  • Sweet Potato – 250 gms, cut and diced into cubes and soaked in water
  • Oil – 2 tbsps
  • Chana daal – 1 tsp
  • Urad daal – 1 tsp
  • Rai – 1 tsp
  • Green Chillies – 3 nos.
  • Curry leaves – 8-10 leaves
  • Turmeric Powder 1/2 tsp
  • Hing/asafoetida – a pinch
  • Salt to taste
  • Red Chilly powder – 1 tsp
  • Coriander leaves
  • Coriander powder/curry powder(optional)

How To Make Sweet Potato Stir Fry:

  • Firstly, boil the diced cubes till they are tender. Alternately, the whole sweet potatoes can be pressure cooked for 2 whistles, with the skin, cooled and then peeled and diced.
sweet potato
  • Heat oil in a pan, add tempering items of chana daal, urad daal, and rai, and allow them to splutter. Also add hing, curry leaves, green chilies, turmeric powder, and red chilly powder and saute.
  • Now add the boiled sweet potato pieces and mix well. Fry for about 1 or 2 minutes and blend the sweet potato cubes well with the above ingredients.
sweet potato fry
  • Add salt and some coriander powder, adding coriander powder is however optional, only to further enhance the flavor.
sweet potato fry
  • Now add coriander leaves,  give a final mix, and switch off the flame. Sweet potato fry is ready to serve!
sweet potato fry


If you want to add garlic then crush some jeera and garlic pods and add this to the ingredients in step 2. Fry for 1 or 2 minutes before adding the cubes. Onions can also be added.


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