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Recipe of the Month: Alu Dum, also known as Shogok Khatsa

This dish is a favorite with all people who have had some association with Darjeeling, India. A lot of the Himalayan people — Tibetans, Sherpas, Yolmos, Walungs, etc. — have had a legacy of sending their children to school in this small hill station to the east of India. Some of the well-reputed schools in this town include St. Josephs (NP), Loreto Convent, Mt. Hermon, St. Pauls, St. Augustines, Dr.Graham's Homes, etc. This dish — or rather a snack in Darjeeling — is served everywhere in this town in small teashops with "puris" bread, or with potato wafers as a snack.

Any girl from Darjeeling will swoon at the mention of "Bhola's alu-dum" known for its famous Alu, bhujia chips combination. It is served in a Tibetan version of the dish as " Shogok Khatsa" in the Tibetan Yak Restaurant in Jackson Heights.


  • Potatoes
  • Cooking oil
  • Salt
  • Red chilli powder
  • Panch puran masala


Step 1. In a utensil, add a pound of potatoes. Cover with water and add two teaspoons of salt (the salt adds a bit of a flavor to the potato and also helps in cooking it faster) and boil. Check with wooden spatula to check when the potatoes are done.

Step 2. Peel the potatoes and cut into 4 or 8 pieces depending on the size of potato.

Step 3. In a small bowl add 3 teaspoons of red chilli powder (you can add more if you want it very spicy) and 2 tablespoons of salt. Add π cup of water and mix thoroughly.

Step 4. In a small utensil, heat 5 tablespoons of cooking oil. Add a tablespoon of panchpuran masala and fry till the seeds turn brown. Add the mixture in the bowl to the oil and cover immediately (One needs to be very careful when you do this — the water in the hot oil leads to a lot of hot steam forming and also the chilli powder gets roasted at once and lends to the spicy smell in the room). Let the mixture boil for 2 minutes.

Step 5. Add the potatoes to the gravy and stir. One can turn down the flame after 2-3 minutes and let the potatoes simmer for 5 minutes.

The potato dish is done and can be served with "pooris" for a meal or with potato wafers and "bhujia" as a snack.