Calabria “Sticky” Pan-Fried Potatoes (with Onions & Sweet Peppers)

In Calabria, this vegan dish is called patane mpacchiuse, literally “sticky potatoes” referring to the potatoes made to “stick” at the bottom of the pan as flavours from the onions seep in from the top. Traditionally made with just onions, it is now common to see a red pepper or two being added (By “red pepper”, I refer to the long sweet pepper). The potato slices of this dish will have absorbed the beautiful flavours and fragrances of the olive oil, onions and peppers. Bits of the potatoes also have a most delightful crunch when you bite into them. Ah…

In the neighbouring Basilicata, instead of onions, only red peppers are used to flavour the potatoes. This Basilicata version is more common in the village where I come from. Unfortunately, I find peppers harder to digest as I get older.


5 minutes of preparation
35 minutes of cooking


This recipe was prepared for 2 persons.

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 big red onion
  • 1 red sweet pepper
  • salt to taste

I. Prepare the ingredients

  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into thin slices.
  2. Cut the red onion into thin slices.
  3. Cut the red sweet pepper length-wise and remove the seeds.

II. Pan fry

  1. Add olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Heat the oil on the lowest flame. Arrange the ingredients in the following order:
    • Bottom: potato slices, and sprinkle salt on them immediately
    • Middle: red peppers
    • Top: onion slices
  1. Increase the flame to medium, drizzle a generous amount of olive oil, sprinkle some salt, and allow to cook for 5-10 minutes uncovered.
  1. Cover the pan and allow to cook covered for 20 minutes on the lowest flame. Every 10 minutes or so, lightly shake the pan sideways to prevent the potatoes from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  1. After 20 minutes, toss the ingredients with a spatula. Cover the pan again and allow to cook for another 10 minutes.
  1. After 10 minutes, open the cover and increase the flame to high. Allow to cook uncovered for another 5 minutes, tossing lightly every now and then.
  1. Pour onto a dish and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Pantry Notes

Where we bought our ingredients in Singapore:

  • Potatoes, onion and peppers – Blu Kouzina

A simple recipe like this absolutely depends on the quality of the ingredients, so use the freshest ones you can find. My wife, for example, did not like potatoes as she found them rather bland, until she realised that good potatoes are actually full of flavour!

Red sweet pepper

The sweet pepper we commonly use in the South of Italy is not the bell pepper. It has a long shape, but is not at all spicy and is much bigger in size than peperoncini (hot chilli peppers). We found that at supermarkets in Singapore, the sweet peppers are referred to as “Palermo peppers”. Despite this name the sweet peppers are truly common all over the Mediterranean, not just in Sicily. We also used these peppers to make roasted peppers infused in olive oil and garlic.

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