Lao Nai Yang Yu (Chinese Spicy Mashed Potatoes)

"This is a dish our family likes to order in Kunming. The name literally means "Old granny potatoes" because it's well-suited to people who have no teeth. I've never seen how it's made, but I found the following description at : "Making method is very simple and popular for people of all ages. In fact we can think of it as a kind of mashed potato stir-fried with vegetable oil, chopped shallot and onion, and sliced green pepper and hams and so on. Assistant materials are added according to individual taste." With that description and my own memory of the dish to go on, here's a recipe!"
photo by Leggy Peggy photo by Leggy Peggy
photo by Leggy Peggy
Ready In:


  • 1 lb waxy potato
  • 13 cup peanut oil or 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed and sliced
  • 4 whole dried red chilies, stem ends removed (optional)
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 12 cup fresh fennel greens, chopped (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons hot Chinese chili paste (or to taste) (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • Peel potatoes, and dice into 1-inch cubes.
  • Boil potatoes in water for 10 minutes or until done. Drain water.
  • Mash potatoes briefly with a hand masher--there should still be a lot of large lumps.
  • Heat empty wok over highest heat until you can see heat rise from the surface.
  • Add peanut oil and swirl in wok for a moment until heated.
  • Add garlic cloves and chilies and toss in oil for a moment until fragrant. If the garlic starts to brown before you get the other ingredients added, move off heat for a moment.
  • Add green onions, fennel, chili paste, and salt and stir-fry for a moment until ingredients are fully combined and green onion is wilted. (The fennel of Yunnan has only leafy green parts, no bulb, so it resembles dillweed.).
  • Add potatoes, stir-fry until ingredients are thoroughly combined and potatoes are heated through.
  • Serves 4 as part of a Chinese meal (a couple of meat dishes, a green vegetable, lao nai potatoes, a soup, and white rice).

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  1. I followed the recipe up to the final stir-fry and then I added 4 eggs which I scrambled along with the potatoes. Talk about a great meal!! I wasn't in the mood to make a big production out of dinner so I just went with simple and tasty. The seasonings were perfect. I did use fennel from the bulb since I could not find any with leaves. Sliced like you would do for water chestnuts, thin and crunchy.
  2. I may never make plain mashed potatoes again! These are sensational. My only changes were to cut back to 1/4 cup of peanut oil and to use chopped coriander (cilantro) in place of the fennel leaves, which don't seem to be available anywhere in Australia. Served with Recipe #387236 and a wombok (Chinese cabbage) salad. Thank you very much for posting. Made for the Chinese New Year Tag Game in the Asian Forum. P.S. I couldn't get a decent photo tonight and there weren't any leftovers to photograph tomorrow, but I'll be making them again soon, and will get a better shot then.



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