Potato tuturuga


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Fire Islands: Recipes from Indonesia

Fire Islands

By Eleanor Ford

Published 2019

  • About

Lime leaves, mint and lemon basil perfume this spicy, savoury curry. Tuturuga is made by the Minahasen people of North Sulawesi where the name means ‘turtle’ - the original meat cooked with potatoes in this red spice paste. Today chicken or beef is more typical, but I keep mine meat-free as I think the potatoes cloaked in the spiced coconut milk are the best bit.


  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) potatoes, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 lime leaves
  • 250 ml (1 cup) coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • small bunch of lemon basil leaves, shredded
  • small bunch of mint leaves, shredded
  • juice of ½ a lime

Bumbu spice paste

  • 4 small red Asian shallots, peeled
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 large red chillies, half seeded
  • 2 cm (¾ inch) ginger, peeled
  • 3 cm ( inches) turmeric, peeled, or 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 6 candlenuts or 10 blanched almonds


Start by making the bumbu spice paste. Roughly chop the fresh ingredients and grind to a paste in a food processor, adding a little water if needed to help it come together.

Cut the potatoes into 4-5 cm (1½-2 inch) chunks.

Heat the oil in a pan that will be large enough to hold the potatoes later. Scrape in the bumbu and fry until fragrant and the rawness has gone. Add the lime leaves and wilt in the heat of the spices. Add the potatoes, coconut milk and salt and top up with just enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a slow boil and cook uncovered until the potatoes are tender and the sauce has reduced to a good consistency, about 20-30 minutes.

Leave to cool a little then stir through the lemon basil and mint. Taste for seasoning and brighten the flavours with a zap of lime juice.