Nani’s “Chips” Shaak (Dry potato curry)

As many of you know, all of my family (including my Nani) live in England.  And in addition to their weird accents, they use funny names to describe their potatoes.  They refer to potato chips as “crisps,” french fries as “chips,” and potatoes as po-taaaaaaay-toes.

My Nani created this “chips” shaak (curry) in honor of my uncle Vinaymama who doesn’t believe in eating green vegetables.   This shaak, which all of Nani’s children now make, resembles french fries — it’s dry (unlike lots of potato shaaks which tend to have a little sauce) and the potatoes resemble homemade french fries.

I love this dish because it’s quick and delicious, and always, always a hit.  You can also modify it easily, although these additions are controversial in our family because adding fruit and vegetables goes against the original intent of making an “unhealthy” chips shaak.

Nevertheless, these are additions that we ALL make depending on our mood:

  • tomatoes (2 large serving spoons of crushed or fresh tomatoes) – add them at the same time that you add the potatoes, cover, and cook on low heat, rather than medium;
  • peas – for some added texture or do the exact same recipe with cabbage & peas, or cauliflower and peas;
  • or you can substitute out the potatoes altogether and make this recipe using cabbage & peas or cauliflower & peas.

Servings: 4 people


  • 4 medium red potatoes
  • 2 tbs. oil
  • Rai (mustard seeds)
  • Jeeru (cumin seeds)
  • Pinch of hing (asofoetida)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Haldi (turmeric powder)
  • Red chili powder
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Dhana-jeeru (coriander powder) – Optional
  • Several other options (see above), including tomatoes and peas.


  1. Wash the potatoes and then cut them in half – lengthwise.  Then cut them into thin slices. 
  2. Make vagaar: heat oil on medium-high, add pinch of hing, rai (mustard seeds) and jeeru (cumin seeds) until they crackle.
  3. Then add the potatoes, salt, turmeric, red chili powder, dhana-jeeru (coriander powder). Mix.
  4. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes.
  5. Garnish with chopped cilantro, and serve hot with any type of Indian bread, such as puri, roti, or paratha.  Also goes well with rice, khadi, and dhal. 

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