Sastō Ālu

Categories:Adventures, Kathmandu, Nepal
Vagabond Tim
I recently tweeted about one of my new favourite dishes.
As one might expect, it is potatoes.

Since this dish requires minimal effort, well none on my part as Arpan makes it, and requires very minimal ingredients I named it ‘Cheap Potatoes’ or Shasto Aloo.

Arpan tends not to name dishes, or remember what goes in them. I was thus forced to name this dish employing my very minimal Nepali vocabulary which happened to include the appropriate words purely by chance.

A wandering merchant guy was shouting ‘SHASTO!!!’
I still wonder what was being sold at such a cheap price that it required town crier-like enthusiasm.
The other word I know is Aloo. Since I tend to order anything with potatoes in it I have become familiar with the word in several languages.

Essentially the recipe is as follows…
–Wash some potatoes that you haphazardly peeled, by wash I mean run enough water over them so as to render them damp.

–Chop them into small rectangles resembling miniature French fries.

–Forget that the wok contains a small amount of incredibly hot, salted sunflower oil and throw the dampened potatoes in.

–Act surprised that it spatters and bubbles despite this occurring literally every time.

–Using the flat handle of a fork, throw a few ‘forks’ of turmeric in and stir until everything is fairly coated in orange coloured oil.
The reason for the fork is that it works better than our spoons, which have rounded handles.

–Quickly realise you should have already chopped chilli peppers.

–Throw them in after chopping them at speeds that are perhaps not entirely prudent when using a butcher knife.

–Throw in more turmeric, when questioned explain that it isn’t orange enough.

–Throw in mystery spice that may or may not contain coriander… When I pressed him for more information he told me it is “probably coriander… and some other leaves.” I found myself at a loss for words.

–Fry until done, done being a highly subjective terms depending largely on ones tolerance for the boredom of stirring brightly coloured potato chunks around a wok.

–There will be a small amount of oil left in the wok, try to minimize the amount left on the potatoes when serving as they will stay crispier.

Feel free to add damn near anything as you please, just ensure you have a nonsensical explanation handy in case anyone asks why.


Haphazard peeling is most easily accomplished by not looking at what you are doing


You will probably need to wash a pan as your jackass room mate was ‘busy’ setting up his camera


The exact moment that Arpan forgets that the burner is on and the oil is rapidly approaching housefire conditions


The mysterious ‘spice’ is kept in an unmarked jar. I assume this is to prevent the ‘other leaves’ from being identified


And there you have a very brightly coloured and exceedingly spicy bowl of potato thingies to snack on

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