Aloo fry is a staple in most Indian kitchens. These golden fried potatoes come together quickly and are great with any meal. Kids love the flavor and crunch of simple aloo fry, which you can make by frying small potato cubes until they're browned. If you'd like a more flavorful fry, try it Chettinbad-style. This South Indian way of flavoring the potatoes uses curry leaves, black peppercorns, chilies, and onions. Try aloo fry and just see if it doesn't make it into your weekly meal rotation!
Simple Aloo Fry
Rinse 2 large potatoes and peel them. Rinse the potatoes under cold water to get rid of dirt and pat them dry with a clean towel. Then, peel each of the potatoes and set them on a cutting board.  X Research source Use starchy potatoes like russets if you want potatoes with fluffier centers or choose yukon golds if you want the potato fry to have even more flavor.
Cut the potatoes into 1⁄2 inch (1.3 cm) cubes. Carefully use a sharp knife to cut the potatoes in half lengthwise. Lay them flat so you can cut them into 1⁄2 inch (1.3 cm) thick slices. Then, cut across the slices to make 1⁄2 inch (1.3 cm) cubes.  X Research source
Soak the potatoes in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes. Transfer the potato cubes to a bowl and fill it with cold tap water so the potatoes are completely submerged. Set the potatoes aside to soak while you heat oil in a skillet.  X Research source Soaking the potatoes gets rid of some of the starch so the potatoes don't stick together when they cook. They'll also crisp up more than if you skip the soaking step.
Heat 4 US tbsp (59 ml) of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Pour the oil into a cast-iron skillet or heavy nonstick pan and set it on the stove. Turn the burner to medium and heat the oil for at least 1 minute.  X Research source You'll know the oil is hot enough when you see the surface shimmering.
Put in the potatoes into a colander and put the potatoes into the skillet. Set a colander or strainer in the sink and pour the potato cubes into it. Shake the colander a little to drain all of the water. Then, spread the potatoes in the skillet with the oil.  X Research source Be careful as you slowly lower the potato cubes into the oil. Avoid dropping them from high up or the oil may splatter.
Stir the potatoes occasionally and fry them for 12 to 15 minutes. Stir the potatoes in the skillet so they're coated with the oil and leave them to cook undisturbed for a few minutes. This helps them brown on the bottom. Then, stir the potatoes every few minutes and fry them until they're golden on all sides. This should take about 12 to 15 minutes.  X Research source You can test if the potatoes are done cooking by inserting a fork through 1 of the cubes. It should be easy to pull the fork back out if the center is tender.
Turn off the burner and stir in chili powder and salt to taste. Once the potatoes are crisp on the outside and soft in the center, turn off the burner. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp (1 g) of Kashmiri chili powder over the potatoes and stir them. Then, sprinkle salt over the potatoes and taste one so you know if you'd like to add more salt or chili powder.  X Research source The Kashmiri powder gives the aloo fry a deep, rich color.
Tip: Kashmiri chili powder is also called lal mirch powder. If you can't find this spicy chili powder at your local Indian market or online, substitute hot Hungarian paprika.
Serve the aloo fry with rice or soup. Aloo fry is a filling accompaniment to any Indian meal. Try it with steamed basmati rice, soup, or rasam. For the best texture, serve the aloo fry as soon as you turn off the skillet so the potatoes stay crisp.  X Research source You can refrigerate leftover aloo fry in an airtight container for up to 5 days, but the potatoes will become soft the longer they're stored.
Chettinbad-Style Potato Fry
Peel the potatoes and shallots. Rinse 3/4 pound (300 g) of baby potatoes and use a vegetable peeler to remove the skins. Then, peel 1 1/2 cups (150 g) of shallots. Leave the baby potatoes and shallots whole.  X Research source Shallots are also called sambar onions. They'll give the potatoes a deeper flavor as they fry together.
Bring the potatoes to a boil over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the whole potatoes to a pot and pour in enough cold water to cover the potatoes by 1 inch (2.5 cm). Set the pot on the stove and turn the burner to medium-high so the water comes to a boil. Boil the potatoes for 8 to 10 minutes or until they're just becoming tender.  X Research source You can skip this step if you don't want to parboil the potatoes, but they'll take longer to fry.
Put the potatoes into a colander. Turn off the burner and set a colander or strainer in the sink. Wear oven mitts so you can carefully pour the pot of potatoes into the colander. Shake the colander a little so all of the water drains from the potatoes.  X Research source Set the potatoes aside while you prepare the skillet and spices.
Put the urad dal, 3 of the chilies, 15 curry leaves, and peppercorns into a skillet. Place a heavy skillet on the stove and put 2 teaspoons (5 g) of urad dal into it along with 15 of the fresh curry leaves. Add 3 of the long dry chilies and 1 teaspoon (3 g) of whole black peppercorns. These spices are the basis for your masala. To make your chettinad potato fry less spicy, scrape the seeds from the chilies and discard them.
Toast the spices over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Carefully shake the skillet as the spices cook so they heat evenly and don't burn in spots. Cook the spices until the urad dal turns brown and you can smell the spices.  X Research source Don't walk away from the spices as they're toasting since they can burn quickly.
Cool the spices and grind them into a fine powder. Once the spices are fragrant, turn off the burner and set the skillet aside so the spices cool. Then, put them into a small spice grinder or small food processor and pulse them into a powder.  X Research source
Tip: If you don't have a spice grinder, use a coffee grinder. Just remember to clean the grinder thoroughly so your coffee beans don't smell like masala!
Heat the oil, mustard seeds, 2 chilies, shallots, and curry for 3 minutes. Pour 2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 44 ml) of vegetable oil into a heavy pan and turn the burner to medium. Once the oil shimmers, add 1/2 teaspoon (1 g) of mustard seeds, the whole shallots, the remaining 2 long dry chilies, and the remaining 10 curry leaves. Stir the mixture as it becomes fragrant.  X Research source This spice mixture in oil is called a tadka and it's a great way to boost the flavor of the potatoes. Use caution when you stir the oil mixture since the mustard seeds may splatter.
Add the potatoes and fry them for 3 minutes. Pour the parboiled potatoes out of the colander into the skillet with the oil. Carefully stir the mixture to coat the potatoes with the seasoned oil and cook them until the potatoes start to brown.  X Research source Stir the potatoes frequently so they don't stick to the skillet.
Stir in the masala and fry the potatoes for 5 minutes over medium heat. Pour the masala powder into the skillet and along with salt according to your taste. Stir the potatoes really well so they covered with the spices. Then, fry the potatoes until they're completely crisp.  X Research source Turn the burner down if the shallots begin to burn.
Serve the Chettinbad-style potato fry with rice or soup. The spicy potatoes are a great side to serve with milder foods like steamed rice or chapatis. If you like, set out chutneys or raita to cool down the heat of the dish. Refrigerate leftover potato fry in an airtight container for up to 5 days.