All posts filed under: Nepal


Monday Meal Review: Nepal

THE SCENE Slowly, slowly I fold the momos, turning them into little moons. I am relaxed. My fingers work, awkwardly at first, but gradually pick up a gentle, gliding smoothness as my muscles memorize the steps. Folding these dumplings feels like meditation. Whenever I try to rush the process, everything collapses and the folding becomes a source of frustration instead of peace. So I keep my movements measured and slow. I keep a towel under my elbows, to catch stray bits of filling. I continue, remembering that the process is as important as the final dish. This night we share dinner with our friends Annie, Scott and their daughter Bea. We eat with great relish – while the kids go crazy for the dhal baht and besan burfi, we adults fixate on the momos. They taste gingery and cabbagy and bright. We dunk them in sauces and smile. Eventually we move outside to sit in the starlight, by the flickering chiminea. Conversation turns to our children and the choices we make to give them the …

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Vegan Spiced Yellow Split Peas | Dhal Baht

If you wake up in Nepal, chances are you’ll be eating Dhal Baht. In fact, you’ll probably also eat Dhal Bhat as the sun bobs below the horizon. Nothing wrong with eating the same dish twice in one day. There’s a beautiful simplicity in waking up and knowing that, as certain as the sun will circle the sky, there will be Dhal Bhat. Ah, yes. There’s something to be said for consistency. And for not having to make quite so many decisions during the day. I’m not sure what in my life is that certain. Perhaps my daily cups of tea. All day long I drink glass after glass of the stuff. This fancy name simply means lentils, split peas, or other pulses (dhal) with rice (baht), but each bite reveals so much more. This might as well be the national dish of Nepal. While rice doesn’t grow well in the mountains, this is a dish from the valleys. The seasonings in Dhal vary widely, but most commonly this soup-of-sorts contains tomato, turmeric, ginger, onion, and garlic. …

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Crystal Crunch “Fudge” | Besan Burfi

No  matter where you live in this great, glorious world, you know someone with a mega sweet tooth. Someone who can’t get enough of the sugary, fingerlickin’ foods. This person can’t be trusted with a cookie jar and – I’m here to tell you right now – they most certainly can’t be trusted alone with a platter of Besan Burfi. And, really, can you blame them? Besan Burfi, popular throughout Nepal and India, tastes a little like sugar cookie dough… a little like a dreamy pistachio flower … and a lot like, well, happiness. The “fudge” is made with ghee, chickpea flour and sugar. Every bite is an outrageous crunch of crystalized goodness. When topped off with a smattering of cardamom and pistachios, you’ll find these make for a rich and irresistible snack. A snack, in fact, that makes you repeat to yourself “curiouser and curiouser.” So come on down the rabbit hole. Never mind that this “fudge” is made with besan, a.k.a chickpea flour. That sounds entirely too healthy and … beany.  Trust me. This turns …

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Vegetarian Momos

Today let’s stove top travel to Nepal, sit in the afternoon sunshine, and make our own little mountain ranges, good enough to eat. Momos are carefully folded dumplings, each crease like a ridge in the most glorious of mountains, Mount Everest. (Did you know Nepal has 8/1o of the world’s tallest mountains?) This is a recipe for quiet days. Contemplative days. Days when you want to be more, learn more… and find out what you’re made of. With each fold you evolve. Listening becomes easier. Being present is the only option. Today’s recipe is entirely vegetarian, made from a a traditional combination of cabbage and carrot, seasoned with golden turmeric, fresh ginger and sweet onion. You’ll find similar recipes south, towards India and across Tibet, through China. From what I understand you can fold your momos in circles or half moons. The circles are typically used for meat while the half moons are typically reserved for vegetarian. You can also steam or deep fry them, although steaming is the most popular. NOTE: In case you …

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Menu: Nepal

There’s nothing quite so wonderful as preparing food for friends, especially when there are special requirements. For our Nepali Global Table I was tasked to prepare an entirely vegetarian meal so I could share it with my vegetarian friend, her daughter, and husband.  I loved it! This “constraint” (which I use very loosely as I eat vegetarian much of the time) meant that I got to look through Nepali recipes with a vegetarian filter. Ironically, this opened my eyes to many dishes I might not otherwise have noticed if I’d felt the pressure of cooking some sort of meat dish. The timing couldn’t have been better – many people in Nepal live a vegetarian lifestyle. This “constraint” also meant that I learned something new that i might not have come across otherwise: being vegetarian in Nepal means no meat or egg (although milk and cheese are fine). Who knew? What sounds good to you? Vegetarian Momos [Recipe] These small dumplings not only have an adorable name, but they taste fantastic. Filled with cabbage, carrot, onion, …

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Flag of Nepal. Photo by Christopher Macsurak

About the food of Nepal

As you fly into Nepal, the first thing you might see is Mount Everest, rising up through the clouds like the spirit of the earth stretching in greeting to the sky. Once in town you’ll find monkeys eating with the pigeons and ambling through the cobblestone streets, baby following mother. A bus, loaded up with people (even on the very roof top) might zip by on your left, British-style. Curiously, this is the only country in the world that has a zig-zag looking flag, as opposed to a rectangle.  As my husband remarked, it looks like half of a Christmas tree. This means that, wherever the Nepali flag floats in the breeze you’ll find two two triangles decorated with the sun and moon. From the freezing mountain tops to the subtropical southern reaches of Nepal, an astounding assortment of temples, shrines, and plain ‘ol beauty awaits. The food reflects her status, tucked between China and India. There are all manner of curries, most commonly you’ll find dahl baht  [Recipe] which I like to think of as …

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