Ground Lamb and Potato Patties

These ground lamb and potato patties from Nik Sharma encapsulate spiced ground meat in a fluffy mashed potato shell that’s coated with bread crumbs and pan-fried until golden brown.

A sheet pan with six ground lamb and potato patties on parchment paper

I think of potato chops as little parcels of joy. There is no better way to combine meat and potatoes than this Goan specialty. Imagine your fork piercing a pan-fried coating of crisp bread crumbs and sinking into a layer of smooth mashed potatoes and then juicy, spiced ground meat. If you have any left over, enjoy them for breakfast. Top each one with a fried egg and a big spoonful of Hot Green Chutney. You can find sambal oelek, a chile-based Indonesian condiment, in many grocery stores and most Asian markets.

If you don’t care for lamb, or red meat in general, you can substitute ground chicken or turkey. In the traditional Goan version of this dish, the meat is flavored with a combination of spices and coconut vinegar. I like to include sambal oelek and apple cider vinegar, which makes all the flavors pop.–Nik Sharma

Ground Lamb and Potato Patties

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 1 H, 30 M
  • 2 H
  • Serves 6
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In a large skillet with a lid over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, 30 to 45 seconds more.

Break up the ground lamb into very small chunks and add it to the skillet. Brown the meat until mostly cooked through, 6 to 10 minutes.

Add 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, the vinegar, and the sambal oelek, and stir gently to combine.

Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Stir in the cilantro and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. (The lamb filling may be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

While the lamb is cooking, pull out a large stockpot. Scrub the potatoes, drop into the pot and add enough cool water to cover by 1 inch (2.5 cm). Bring to a rolling boil over high heat, turn the heat to medium-low, and cover. Simmer the potatoes until completely tender, about 30 minutes.

Tester tip: If you’re pressed for time, you can peel and cube the potatoes before boiling, then proceed with mashing them while warm.

Carefully drain off the water and allow the potatoes to cool to room temperature. (The potatoes may be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Peel the potatoes and, with a masher or fork (or a ricer if you prefer a smoother texture), mash until there are no visible chunks left behind.

Season with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.

To assemble the chops, take 3 or 4 generous tablespoons of the mashed potatoes in the palms of your hands and flatten into a disk. Put 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of the lamb filling in the center, and fold the edges of the potato around it to form a patty about 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. Place on a sheet of parchment paper and repeat with the remaining meat and potatoes.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg. Spread out the bread crumbs on a rimmed baking sheet.

Using a pastry brush, brush a patty with the egg and coat evenly with the bread crumbs, shaking off the excess. Repeat with the remaining patties.

In a large skillet over medium-low heat, warm 1 to 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil. Cook the patties in batches, adding more oil as needed, until golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot or warm.

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    • We’re guessing these will all be devoured the moment they hit the table, but if you’ve got a few leftovers, reheat in a 250°F (121°C) oven for about 30 minutes.

    Recipe Testers' Reviews

    This is definitely a comfort food recipe, with the warming spices, rich ground meat, soft potato and just crisped breadcrumb crust. I think it would also be a good prep ahead recipe, and extras could be easily frozen for future meals.

    I served these with a green chutney (mint and cilantro, garlic and ginger) and sauteed crisp green beans. It was great to have a variety to the texture- the patties were very soft other than the crisped edges, and the herbal chutney helped to enhance/balance the flavor. I think I will add more heat next time, perhaps I'll actually make my own Sambal Oelek!

    My family was unanimous in their vote, giving this recipe enthusiastic thumbs up all around. Although there are a considerable number of steps and dishes involved, the payoff here is well worth the effort.

    I used ground lamb, and as stated by the author, the apple cider vinegar and sambal oelek do indeed give the meat a wonderful flavor boost. The crunchy exterior, creamy potatoes and spicy meat combine to make for a deliciously satisfying and very tasty dish.

    If you are short on time, the “do ahead” advice allows you to make the meat and potatoes up to a day beforehand. Do be sure to break up your meat into very small pieces so that it is more easily surrounded by the mashed potatoes. I found it difficult to make the patties as small as directed, but cannot see that it matters as long as you shape them into evenly flat discs in order to get even browning. 1 cup of breadcrumbs was more than enough for coating them generously.

    In my cast-iron pan, I found it took a bit more oil and time to achieve a deep golden brown. Don’t rush them...and delicious golden brown crunchiness will be your reward. I ended up with 16 patties, for a total of 6 servings. We enjoyed them with corn on the cob and a simple tomato salad. The sweetness of these vegetables paired nicely with the spicy patties. A big green salad would also have been a welcome side dish.


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