• Spiced potato and coconut (Bloomsbury / Mike Cooper)Source: Bloomsbury / Mike Cooper

Sukka means ‘dry’, so less liquid is added to this recipe compared with others.






Skill level

Average: 2.9 (21 votes)

If you leave any leftovers in the fridge, however, you will have to add a bit more liquid while reheating, because the coconut will have absorbed what liquid there is.


  • 500 g well-scrubbed small new potatoes
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 10 fresh or dried curry leaves
  • 200 ml water
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp jaggery or palm sugar
  • ½ lime
  • sea salt

For the spice paste

  • 1½ tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 large dried red chillies
  • 3 tbsp toor lentils (toor daal)
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 100 g frozen grated coconut
  • 125 ml water
  • 4 tbsp Tamarind Liquid (see Note)

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Bring a large covered saucepan of salted water to the boil and assemble all the ingredients and other equipment before you begin. You also need a non-stick pan for toasting the chillies, lentils and spices, a food processor fitted with a chopping blade and a large sauté or frying pan.

Get the potatoes cooking as quickly as possible. Halve the potatoes, adding them to the boiling water as you cut. Be careful that the water doesn’t splash you as you add them to the pan. Re-cover the pan and return the water to the boil. Once boiling, uncover and boil the potatoes for 18 minutes, or until tender. Drain well and set aside.

Meanwhile, make the spice paste. Melt the 1½ tablespoons of coconut oil in the non-stick pan over a medium-high heat. Add the dried chillies, lentils and coriander and fenugreek seeds, and stir until the coriander seeds crackle and the lentils are golden brown and crisp. Turn the heat down as the lentils toast so they don’t burn. Transfer all these ingredients to the food processor and set aside. Wipe out the pan, if necessary.

Toast the coconut over a low heat in the wiped pan. Add it to the food processor with the water and tamarind liquid, then blitz, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until a coarse, chunky paste forms. Set aside.

Melt the 1 tablespoon of coconut oil over a medium-high heat in the sauté pan. Add the mustard seeds and stir until they pop. Turn the heat down, add the spice paste and curry leaves and stir together.

Add the water and bring to the boil. Add the turmeric, season with salt and continue stirring for 5 minutes to cook the lentils in the spice paste. Watch closely so the mixture doesn’t catch and burn.

Add the drained potatoes and stir until they are coated with the spice paste. Crumble over the palm sugar and squeeze in the lime juice to taste, then mix well. Adjust the seasoning with salt, if necessary, and serve. 



• Tamarind Liquid is a tangy souring agent used in Indian cookery. To make, soak tamarind pulp in hot water for about 20 minutes to soften, using your fingers to mix the pods with the water. Strain through a sieve into a bowl, pressing to extract as much flavour as possible. The proportion of liquid to tamarind pulp varies according to the intensity of flavour required. Allow 400 ml water per 200 g block of tamarind. The extracted juice can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 weeks, or frozen and diluted as required. 

Recipe from 30 Minute Curries by Atul Kochhar (Bloomsbury, hb, $39.99). Enter to WIN your own copy here