Aloo or Potato; which sounds better?


Say POTATO and now say ALOO. There is a difference right. Potato sounds flat, rounded and dull whereas aloo sounds soft, silky, it rolls off your mouth.  No! You don’t agree, well okay, aloo and potato is one and the same thing. Call it by whatever name, most people, like me love it in every form, shape and taste.  If you think aloo is bad then this post is not for you.

By the way if you thought zucchini and rocket leaves were cool then let me remind you aloo too is an import. The ubiquitous vegetable came to India and China during 17th Century. From Peru, it travelled all across America, Europe and then finally landed in Asia.

Thank god for small mercies and those explorers, I just can’t imagine life without aloo.

I put aloo in almost everything right from mutton curry to every other vegetable. Now you must be imagining me to be well rounded like the vegetable.  Far from it, just delete that mental image. However, it is true that in the past few years I had put on quite a lot of weight…

Ah! I can see you smirking! Let me finish the sentence. No the culprit was not aloo but my sedentary lifestyle. I lost almost 12 kgs in one year by just being active and  I did not stop eating my favourite veggie even for a single day. There did I effectively rob you of your grin.  Now I am grinning!

The all-time favourite, healthy, vitamins, fiber and mineral rich potatoes is good for heart and health, researchers even say that it helps keep certain types of cancer at bay. I wonder how it got all the negative publicity and the love of almost everyone’s life is now scorned at as unhealthy food.

Anyways I am very clear about my love and no amount of negative publicity is going to affect my affair with it. The trick is to understand that over indulgence of anything is bad. Go slow on the deep, double fried French fires, batata vada and even while using it as vegetables don’t fry it. Simple!

I remember when friends used to come over; the best snack was aloo, in-fact piroo aloo. It literally means Hot potatoes. I would even consider it to be fast food because it can be rustled up in a jiffy.  Also I believe that it is any time healthier than your pizza. Have your doubts, well then read the recipe and let me know. I might be wrong and I don’t mind being corrected.

Piroo aloo is found in almost every eating joint in Sikkim. In fact at times, almost always near schools it is served with boiled noodles. Sounds like a weird combination but  it is very popular and I have had my share of it.  This preparation is unique to Sikkim and adjoining hills as I have not seen it being prepared in such a way in any other part of the country. There is jeera aloo but then again piroo aloo is different.


4-5 large boiled potatoes

3-4 teaspoon of ginger and fresh red chilly paste. You can use as much red chilly you like; I mean it all depends on how much heat you can tolerate. ( Garlic is optional, if you  love the taste of garlic then include it ; I love garlic so I do include few clove of garlic too)

One large chopped tomato (preferably red and ripe)


Kashmiri mirch powder, one teaspoon

Salt to taste

Oil for cooking (preferably mustard oil)


Dice the potatoes to bite size pieces.  Heat oil in a khadai, wok or a cooking pan. If you want, splutter some jeera seeds (cumin).  Then add the chopped tomato and salt.  Cook till it becomes soft and tender and gets mashed easily or alternatively you could puree the tomato and use it. Now add the haldi and Kashmiri mirch powder and cook for few minutes. Keep stirring. Ones the oil starts oozing out of the sides stir in the ginger chilli (plus optional garlic) paste. Don’t overcook it, just for a minute and then add the diced  potatoes. Stir it so that every potato is covered with the tomato, ginger- chilli gravy. Lower the flame and cover the pan, cook for few minutes. Don’t forget to toss it occasionally.  Voilà your piro aloo is ready.

Put it in a bowl and using a fruit fork pop it into your mouth. If you want to make it more exciting garnish it with you favourite mixture ( I prefer haldiram’s bhujia). You can also garnish it with finely chopped coriander.

Now why did I say healthier than a pizza, look at the ingredients, they are all healthy and natural. In fact I even consider it to be metabolism boosting food as it has the necessary spice/herb chilli and ginger to boost metabolism.

Piroo Aloo

Piroo Aloo

Divya K

This entry was posted in Cooking, Food, Gangtok, India, North East, Sikkim, Sikkimese Food and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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