Also known as varuval in Tamil Nadu, this is a stuffed baby potato dish that can be found on every street corner in Chettinad, the famous coastal region of Tamil Nadu, South India. As with many traditional dishes, the original dish is made to taste great to evoke the appetite of a baby, hence the name varuval.

On Indian Independence Day, the Chettinad Festival of Arts and Culture is held in Chettinadu, a district in Tamil Nadu, India, to showcase the culinary skills of the region. This brief video shows some of the various Chettinad recipes that are showcased during the festival.

Back in the old days, when people were rarely scared of predators, they lived in harmony with nature. During that time, the Chettinad region in Tamil Nadu in southern India, was a renowned producer of vegetables and fruits. Most of the food was from the region, which consisted of vegetables, fruits and edible fish. The area was known for its production of the varuval masala which was a mixture of a few spices that went into the preparation of the vegetables and fruits. These days, the same spices are often used in cooking elaborate dishes but the original recipe is still used to make small snacks like these baby potato fry (varuval). These are crunchy and delicious, and are very popular in this region. ~~

Varuval is a Tamil word that meaning “to fry.” I cooked the tiny potatoes in a Chettinad manner, which gives them a unique flavor and texture. Baby potatoes, sometimes known as new potatoes, are tiny potatoes that may be eaten whole. Curry or frying are two options. Dum aloo is another dish that may be made with these tiny potatoes. Chettinad baby potato fry is enhanced by the sweet flavor of sambar onions (shallots or tiny onions). To add pepper flavor and fragrance, I used pepper corns and red chilli this time. Baby potato from Chettinad is a dry meal that works well with plain rice and sambar or rasam with ghee poured on top. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a little hot. I served mango rice with Chettinad baby potato fry.


    • 2 to 3 tbsp oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
    • 15 curry leaves
    • 3 dry chilies (broken, long)
    • 150 to 170 g shallots (sambar onions)
    • 300 gms potatoes (baby potatoes)


  • 2 teaspoons urad dal
  • 1 or 2 dry red chilies
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper (peppercorns)
  • 10 curry leaves
  • if necessary, salt


  • The skins of the young potatoes and onion should be peeled (shallots). Set things aside for now.
  • Heat a skillet or a tava, add the urad dal, dried red chili (remove the seeds), curry leaves, and black pepper, and cook on a low heat until the urad dal is light brown and fragrant.
  • In a spice grinder, combine the spices and grind to a fine powder.
  • Add oil to a kadai or other vessel. When the pan is heated, add the mustard seeds. Allow it to sputter before adding the shallots (unchopped) and curry leaves.
  • Cook the entire shallots until they become a light translucent color.
  • Add the potatoes, sauté for 2 to 3 minutes on a medium temperature, then cover and cook on a low heat until the potatoes are done.
  • Between stirrings, make sure the shallots don’t burn.
  • Add the ground spice combination, salt, and stir well. Reduce to a low heat and cover for 4 to 5 minutes.
  • The spice masala should be thoroughly coated on the potatoes.
  • Add the coriander leaves and cook for 2 minutes on medium heat before turning off the heat.


  • You may add cooked potatoes right after you finish suating the shallots and roast them with the shallots for a few minutes over medium heat until they become light brown.
  • If baby potatoes aren’t available, regular potatoes may be used.
  • If you don’t want to use red chili, leave it out.
  • If you use boiling potatoes instead of raw potatoes, the shallots will not become as roasted, since raw potatoes take longer to cook and must be cooked with the shallots. Both, though, were delicious to me.


One of the most famous varieties of potatoes in the world is the Chettinad baby fry (varuval). They are small and very healthy, and are eaten during special occasions and festivals.. Read more about boiled potato fry and let us know what you think.

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  • potato fry south indian
  • boiled potato fry
  • potato masala fry
  • spicy potato fry