Granny’s Potato Dish in Yunnan

Granny’s Potato Dish in Yunnan(老奶洋芋) is local mashed potato style dish typically flavoured with spring onions and chilli.

Grandma’s potatoes – Laonai yangyu (老奶洋芋)

The grandmother of all Yunnan dishes, superlatives such as ‘instant classic’ hardly do justice to this simple yet delicious dish. Sure, it is basically mashed potato but it is potato mashed in a way your imagination never thought possible. It’s Yunnan name translates as ‘old lady’s potatoes’ but ‘grandma’s potatoes’ is altogether more appropriate given the dish’s comfort food pedigree.


2 medium potatoes

3 stalks of spring onion
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp of chilli powder
Oil for frying


Peel the potatoes, chop them into large chunks and boil in salted water for around half an hour. In the meantime wash and chop the spring onion into centimetre long lengths. When the potatoes are cooked, drain them, transfer to a board and chop roughly.

Heat around 3 tablespoons of oil in a wok on medium to high heat and add the spring onion and chilli powder. Stir fry for around one minute then add the chopped potatoes and salt, stirring thoroughly to ensure the potatoes are well coated with the chilli oil.

Flatten out the potatoes in the wok to ensure maximum contact with the cooking surface and allow to cook for a minute. You can further chop the potatoes with your spatula at this time if they are too chunky for your taste. Stir the potatoes and repeat this action a few more times before transferring to a plate to be served alongside your other dishes.

Happy Eating!

Guo’s note – there are as many variations on this dish as there are grandmas. The amount of oil and salt used and the degree of ‘mash’ inflicted on the potatoes can be varied to taste. The level and type of chilli added can be altered to suit one’s taste or for the especially wimpy the chilli can omitted altogether. Sichuan pepper (huajiao 花椒) and/or pickled vegetables (yancai 腌菜) can also be added to make for an interesting variation.