Konkani Style Sweet Potato Stir Fry (Kanga Upakari Recipe) - An Age Old Tea Time Snack

Konkani Style Sweet Potato Stir Fry (Kanga Upakari Recipe) - An Age Old Tea Time Snack

Years ago during our tea time I wondered what did my grandparents have as their tea snack during their days. They didn’t have biscuits, cookies, cup cakes, cakes back then. I asked my granny and she listed out tea time snacks of their time for me.

  • Mugadali phaan - Split mung bean stir fry.
  • Phovu - Spicy, seasoned beaten rice prepared many ways. The most popular way it’s still made till date is this way. Other ways of making it are extinct. Shall blog about them.
  • Chane usli - seasoned chickpeas - made using white or black chickpeas. 
  • Charburo - Spicy puffed rice done many ways. The most popular way it’s still made till date is this way. Other ways of making it are extinct. Shall blog about them.
  • Badge usli - Cowpeas stir fry.
  • Kulitha usli - Horse gram stir fry.
  • Upittu - Upma/Seasoned semolina.
  • Kanga upakari - Sweet potato stir fry.
  • Chanedali usli - Split chickpeas stir fry.
  • Oodi phaan, hapolu phaan, shevai phaan during the monsoons. Rice fritters (tadla oodi in Konkani, plain rice fritters made using only salt, sun dried just to make a stir fry out of them), rice papads (tadla hapolu), homemade, sun dried rice noodles were all stir fried to make delicious snacks out of them.

Essentially all of them are healthy snacks. Majority of them are protein rich, healthy pulses turned into a delicious snack. And they’re easy to make, quick dishes involving very little prep. Thanks to cookies, biscuits and chips, most of these snacks have been forgotten as tea time snacks. 

One such age old tea time snack from my grandparents time is this sweet potato stir fry. Called as kanga upakari in Konkani. Do you still make them as a tea time snack? I’m curious to know how many of us still do. 

Sweet potato stir fry is spicy, sweet and is absolutely delish. It's so 🤤. I loveee it extra sweet. You can make it extra 🔥🔥 & sweet 😋😘 or just 🔥 or just sweet, any which way you like. 💥 Sweet potatoes for good for us. It is highy nutritious.

Kanga upakari was usually served for evening tea with spicy, seasoned beaten rice called as teek phovu/kalel phovu in Konkani. But I love mushy seasoned sweet potatoes on their own. This sweet-spicy sweet potato dish is an absolute delight to your taste buds. When you eat it with spicy, sweet, seasoned beaten rice (teek phovu/kalel phovu) then there'll be a myriad of flavours and tastes in your mouth with every bite of the two together. 🥰 

Without much prep involved this healthy snack gets ready real quick to satiate your hunger pangs and taste buds. My neighbour's no fail recipe below for you. 😘 It turns out perfectly 😋😋😍🤩

P.S: those pieces with jaggery holding onto them tightly are the ones that make you wanna dance. 🥰🥰😍🤩


  • 1-2 sweet potatoes depending on their size.
  • 3/4 medium sized onion ( optional)
  • A pinch of asafoetida powder (optional)
  • A tablespoon of grated coconut 
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of mustard seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon of urad dal
  • 1 dried red chilli
  • 1-2 green chilli - depending on your spice preference.
  • 2 leaflets of curry leaves
  • A pinch of turmeric powder 
  • 2-3 tablespoons of jaggery/jaggery powder - use depending on your liking. You can also skip it.
  • Use all mentioned above for yummy yum dish.

Serves: 2

Preparation Time: 20-25 minutes

Preparation Method:

Use freshly bought sweet potatoes to ensure easily. perfectly cooked sweet potatoes.

1. Peel, cube sweet potato and keep it aside in a bowl of water. Water helps prevent sweet potato from oxidizing and turning black.

Chop them into uniform cubes to ensure uniform cooking. Smaller the cubes easily, faster they cook. 

2. Heat a pan, add in oil, mustard seeds. When mustard seeds start popping, add in urad dal and fry them until they start to brown.

3. Then add in dried red chillies pieces, slit green chillies, curry leaves, asafoetida powder, turmeric powder and let them sizzle for few seconds.

4. Then add in peeled, finely chopped onions & saute for 1-2 minutes until they turn translucent.

5. Then add diced sweet potatoes, jaggery, salt, 2 tablespoons of water. Mix well. Cook closed on a medium flame.

6. Add water whenever needed 2-3 tablespoons at a time in between. Saute a few times in between so that they don't stick to the pan or burn.

Use water formed through steam, water that goes in while adding sweet potato pieces into the pan to cook them through. All that water helps them cook through.

5. Once sweet potatoes are cooked through and are soft, add in grated coconut, mix well and remove it off heat.

How do you know if sweet potatoes are cooked through? When a spoon or fork tip passes through it effortlessly.

P.S: If you're using a lot of jaggery powder like I do then add half while cooking sweet potatoes, rest in the end along with grated coconut. Why? It'll help prevent jaggery from sticking to the bottom of your pan. If you add jaggery powder in the end make sure you mix, cook it for a minute on low heat, put off flame, keep it covered for a minute so that the sweetness gets through into the sweet potato pieces.

Serving suggestions:

1. Serve sweet potato stir fry (kanga upakari) hot as a snack or as a tea time snack. You can make them soft and mushy if you wish. I love them that way. All you need to do is overcook them a tad more to get a mushy sweet potato dish.

2. Serve sweet potato stir fry (kanga upakari) hot as a tea time snack along with spicy, seasoned beaten rice called as teek phovu/kalel phovu in Konkani. 

Need more tea time snack recipes from Udupi, Mangalore? Here you'll find recipes for goli baje (Mangalore bonda), Mangalore buns, chattambade, biscuit roti etc here on my website. 

Watch it's making here:


Tags: sweet potato, kanang, kanga upakari, upakari, stir fry, tea time snack, traditional snack, Konkani food, Konkani recipe, Konkani cuisine, GSB Konkani recipe, vegan, vegetarian recipe, South Canara Konkani recipe, Konkani cooking, GSB Konkani cuisine.