Skip to Content

Sri Lankan Deviled Potatoes – Ala Thel Dala

Srilankan Deviled Potatoes Ala Thel Dala @RunninSrilankan

With their never-failing ability to calm my brain and my belly, potatoes are the ultimate comfort food to me.
And, they are so versatile! My mom often uses potatoes as a thickener in curries; and sometimes to make “potato toffee” with condensed milk and cardamom. And, while her tuna and potato cutlets have never met someone who didn’t love them – my all time favorite way to enjoy potatoes is in her “Ala Thel Dala”.

Now, even though I spent my early years in Sri Lanka, I don’t remember much “Sinhalese” as we spoke English at home. But, the few words and phrases I do seem to remember are related in some way to food – go figure huh?! So “Ala Thel Dala”, basically means “potatoes fried in oil”. Some Sri lankans also refer to this potatoes cooked this was as “deviled potatoes”.

Now, just as potatoes can be cooked and enjoyed a million different ways, “Ala Thel Dala” can also be made a million different ways. The most common way is to roast the potatoes in oil and spices – on the stovetop. But, this can also be made by baking the potatoes with spices so they get super crispy and the spices are transformed.

Ala Thel Dala Grilled-Packets @RunninSrilankan

Today however, I have made “Ala Thel Dala” by placing potatoes and spices and oil in little aluminium foil packets. You know that aroma of cumin, coriander, and paprika that floods your house when you are cooking or baking with them? Well, all that flavor is trapped in these little packets – saturating the potatoes with flavor and …oooh…when you open these packets up…get ready for the best smelling potatoes ever!

Spicy Deviled Potatoes

When the Recipe Redux announced that “Back to the Dinner Table: was the theme for their members for this month, I figured I would share this favorite dish from my childhood that is a favorite in our home even now…hoping it becomes a favorite in your home too…

Srilankan Devilled Potatoes Ala Thel Dala @RunninSrilankan

Sri Lankan Deviled Potatoes "Ala Thel Dala"

5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4
Author: Shashi
Delicious, tender, spiced potatoes that are belly and brain comforting!


  • 3 large potatoes cubed
  • 1 onion chopped up
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper


  • Preheat the grill
  • Add ALL the ingredients to a bowl and mix them well
  • Divide among 4 pieces of foil
  • Fold edges well and place on grill for 35 - 40 minutes
  • *When you pull packets out, keep in mind that when the packets are opened, the steam will be very hot
  • ** Also, these packets ca be baked at 400 degrees for about 30-35 minutes.
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?Tag @SavorySpin or tag #savoryspin so we can share your ceation.
"Ala Thel Dala" or Sri Lankan Spiced Devilled Potatoes

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

  1. […] Deviled Roasted Potatoes in Foil from Savory Spin […]

  2. […] to get back to some semblance of navigating this life without him, we have been trying to eat more potatoes, which are what some people call, nature’s […]

  3. […] own. Of course, she always served it with some curried eggplant, potatoes theldala (aka a dry curry like this), chicken curry, cutlets, boiled eggs, chutney, and some sambol (aka salad). But, it was regal all […]

  4. […] you chose to grill it, then throw some of these curry chicken on the grill as well along with these potato packets for a delicious and satisfying […]

  5. […] Deviled Roasted Potatoes in Foil from Savory Spin […]

  6. Mrs SAHM says:

    Amazing recipe! I tried it and it was delicious! Thanks again for a great and homey recipe.

  7. AWellBalancedPlate says:

    This look delicious! I can not wait to try them out. I may just add a bit of chicken and cauliflower into the mixture and have just that for dinner.

  8. spicedblog says:

    Wow, these potatoes sound delicious, Shashi! I also love that they can be made on the grill. With winter coming next week up here (haha…I kid!), I’m looking for all sorts of ways to get some good grillin’ in. These potatoes just landed squarely on my list! I hope you and lil S had an awesome weekend! 🙂

    • Shashi says:

      I am behind with comment replies – but, I sure hope you and Mrs had a wonderful weekend too!
      BTW – I was checking out the forecast down here for the rest of the week and Wednesday, our lows are supposed to be in the 50’s!!! Blech!

  9. I love everything made with potatoes. So a BIG yes to this awesome looking spicy and mouth-watering potato platter. Super YUM!

  10. These look delicious. But I am more interested in learning about potato toffee which I have never heard of before 🙂

    • Shashi says:

      Thanks Tandy! Potato toffee is a Sri Lankan sweet – I have been trying to get it right – but have been failing so far…one of these days hopefully I will nail it and then I will post it! 🙂

  11. Julie G. says:

    I just came across your site and I’m loving all your recipes! I finally have all these spices so I can start making dishes with amazing flavour! Thanks for sharing – Pinned! 😀

    • Shashi says:

      I am so glad you stumbled by Julie! And thanks so very much for commenting! I love spices – life’s just better with a little flavor – right? 🙂

  12. hotlyspiced says:

    I haven’t had potatoes cooked like this before. These do look wonderful and must be full of flavour. so many delicious spices! xx

  13. They look so tasty! I’m coming to your place for dinner!

  14. Mira says:

    Love potatoes and the flavors are perfect! So easy to make, too!

  15. I don’t speak much Sinhalese… but I speak food for sure! LOL! 🙂 Ala Thel Dala is one of my favorite dishes to eat. Have you tried to smash it a little and put it between two slices of butter bread? Or inside a grilled cheese. Yes… crazy.. but so good. 🙂

    • Shashi says:

      Hahahaha! “Food” is a good language to know for sure Ramona! When we were youger, my mom used to smash it and put it in-between bread, but I am one of those weird people that loves potatoes but not bread – these days.

  16. potatoes are my all time favorite things to eat and make as well. i love the idea of small potato packets with spices and oil together..

  17. These look perfectly crisp, the way roasted/grilled potatoes should be IMO! I tried grilling potatoes in foil packets a couple of weeks ago and they didn’t get well done enough. what’s the trick?!

  18. Kalyan says:

    Just mouthwatering…looks lovely and delicious!

  19. Angie@Angie's Recipes says:

    “potatoes fried in oil”…the first thought came to my mind was French fries..LOL. This looks so delicious.

  20. Potato Toffee? Wow! I’m speechless. I’m begging you to replicate that recipe and share with us. In a meanwhile, I’m going to enjoy this delo savory potatoes:) Love the flavu going on here!

    • Shashi says:

      I am working on it Ben – so far no luck! The consistency of potato toffee is hard – mine so far has been more like fudge 🙁 I’ll keep trying though and when I get it right I will post it for sure!

  21. Brilliant! This will go perfectly with the other things that I had planned for the grill this afternoon. I have all of the spices and am ready to go. my boys are going to love this but might have to quadruple the recipe… you know BOYS! just beautiful photos Shashi! Sharing and pinning!

  22. These potatoes sound incredibly flavorful – can’t wait to try this recipe!

  23. Tara says:

    You should share more Sri Lankan recipes – they really sound delicious!

    • Shashi says:

      Thanks Tara – working on it, lady! I do have the watalappan on here…they are harder for me to master as I don’t quick them often – if at all…

  24. dinnermom says:

    This could definitely become a favorite! Can’t wait to try it! I just happen to have some mustard seeds too that I don’t use very often…ok only used once…so far. Yum!

  25. These look and sound so flavorful, Shashi! Reminds me of one of my favorite tapas but these are much healthier with all of the spices!

  26. I love the sound of this! 😀 Can’t wait to try it out when I get a kitchen back in my life again! <3