My Favorite Nepalese Foods!! Part 4.

5)Aloo Tamako Tarkari

One of my Favourite! Yes! But, honestly neither I nor my mom, have ever cooked this dish on our own. (You got me. Mom isn’t very big with cookery. And me…I’m a recipe for disaster when i turn on the stove. Might as well say, i’m a ticking bomb on the kitchen 😉 )But again, they say ‘Mustache doesn’t stop an eating mouth’!! Not mine at least.

So, what is Aloo-tama?

Ever eaten any dishes prepared out of bamboo shoot?

bamboo_shoots_16x9

bbc.co.uk

Yes, it’s a delicious, soury, a little spicy cuisine made with ‘Bamboo shoot’ as primary ingredient. The recipe, also includes potatoes, black eyed beans, tomatoes, some hot spices with 1/2 chillies and corriander, as a plus/minus, according to how you like it.  Here is how it looks like, when its done.

youtube

youtube

It’s great to eat with roti (flat bread) or selroti (a round dough like bread). The taste will be even more relishing.. if you are a big fan of mouth watering acidic tang on your cravings..like me!!

6) Sukuti ko Achar.

In Nepali, the word ‘Sukuti’ means ‘very skinny’. ‘Sukuti’ for girls and ‘Sukutey’ for boys. I’m thinking perhaps that’s how it got it’s name..perhaps? Just a wild guess though. (So Smart!! Amn’t i? ;))   .Anyways, basically for preparing sukuti, meat is chopped into pieces, thin long segments and dried for days out in the heat of the sun (traditionally) or on a fire. Naturally, this will end up giving a ‘dry meat’ product that is denatured, shrunken and rough textured. 

jomson co uk

jomsom.co.uk

Guessed it right. That is sukuti!

However, hold your thoughts right there! Surviving these harsh conditions might make it look less appetizing but trust me, put in a recipe together as a achar (side dish in a pickle form with tomatoes) or a soup, it tastes Yum Yum. Some people prefer consuming it directly also (like my mom), from those available in packed forms for commercial purposes. Thes are spiced enough and crispy to grind…Don’t worry, they are put in oven. So, are safe to consume. (Just in case if you are wondering, it’s uncooked..)

My mom is super fan of Sukuti. Especially Sukutiko achar. It makes a great starter and a duo with Alcohol. (Well that’s what she says). Be it tongba/ chhyang/ rakshi (home made liquor) or whisky/ brandy/ wine (whatever that comes in bottle, may be fizzi drinks too).

didibahini

didibahini.com

Tough and chewy, that’s how the local ones are, and that’s how she thinks sukutis should be like. (Sometimes, i can’t help but think, if my mom was a jaguar or a croc in her previous life..Have you seen on the documentaries, the amount of force these killers exert on their jaws? They can crush human skulls and can devour everything down to pieces . Nasty things, i tell you. Of course.. i’m not implying my mom is a predator here..Never..  😉 ).

As for me, and of course Dad, we like our sukuti soft, just enough cooked in a way that it doesn’t lose it’s texture but still manages to release that peculiar taste. And yeah, if you have brittle teeth sets too,  better go for softer ones. You don’t want to chew and chew and chew like 10 times and fall asleep right there, without ever enjoying it. Do you?

(P.S- You can use any meat to prepare sukuti. Red meat. I don’t know if anyone ever has prepared sukuti of chicken. Wonder how would it taste? But, in Nepal, never ask for Beef meat! Never! It’s a National Animal of the country. And prayed as a sacred animal..in case you did not kno)  

My Favourite Nepalese Foods!! Part 3

3)Bhat, Daal and Tarkari.

Honestly for me and my family , not a day goes by, without having a proper set of ‘Bhat, Daal and Tarkari’.  I can vouch, same goes for any Nepalese family whether living in Nepal or abroad.  And as I mentioned previously,  ‘Dhidho and Sishnu’ may be the traditional Nepalese food, but staple diet is this set, a cuisine very well popular in South East Asia.

khana

Bhat, Daal, Tarkari with Achar, gheu (liquified ghee), papaad and machha(fish).

‘Bhat’ refers to ‘Boiled rice’ usually ‘white rice’, ‘Daal’ is soup made of lentils. Any lentils (black gram, petit yellow, pink, brown chickpeas etc etc ). And ‘Tarkari’ is a vegetable curry. Most families, add on side ‘Achar’ which basically means pickle, something that is sour and spicy, to give your tongue that last ‘click’.

I must say, do not  be surprised hearing, about people  preferring ‘Daal, bhat and tarkari’ for morning lunch and evening dinner too. If you ask me, I even make in-between meals with ‘fried rice’ from left-overs.  Why not? It is healthy as well. Fills in the definition of ‘my plate’ for healthy diet given by USDA itself. ‘Bhat’ provides ‘carbohydrate’, ‘Daal’ gives proteins and ‘Tarkari’ has  ‘greeneries,’ meaning vitamins. Bravo right?? In addition, since both ‘bhat and daal’ are boiled, the ‘fat’ content on the meal is quite less. Yupiee for me”

10325654_953473621348895_8795805379693487523_n

Thakali set

But then,  you must know the portions you want to include with these cuisine. Preferably  ‘Daal and Tarkari’ more to ‘Bhat’. Otherwise, like my mom says ”Dumb like there is nothing in your head except Bhat, Bhat and Bhat’. 😉

10408055_958051590891098_280793722660552224_n

Last time i had a ‘delecious’ invite over.. hehhe

4) Wai Wai noodles.

Yup! When you walk in Nepal and you don’t buy this ‘packet’ of brown noodle, you might want to give  a second thought, to  ‘how complete was your trip to Nepal?’. I tell you, as much as the popularity of momo goes, it runs side by side. You can boil it, fry it,  have it just the way it was packed or season it raw and enjoy the crustiness, while you sit together with your friends for house warming gatherings, movies or kitty parties! It is perfect for occasions..believe me. And it comes in all flavors’

That is me stocking my ‘wai wai’ load, when i last entered into a Nepali shop.

20170324_135058

Love seasoning it and eating it unprepared.

wai-wai-noodles-chicken-flavored-nepal-bazaar-1_large

LOve this one boiled or fried.

At other times, when i run out os stock, i try my best effort to survive with any other noodle available. Thank God for Ramens!! Nepalese are superfans of Noodles” did you know that? Atleast everyone that i know of 🙂

My Favourite Nepalese Foods!! Part 2.

2) MOMO

Yup MOMO!  And as good as the name has a ring to it, believe me, the taste is equally good, infact better.

(My current status and usual status)

It is the most popular dish among kathmandities. And there are no streets in Kathmandu, to my knowledge at least, that won’t serve you a delicious plate, be it a local restaurant, cafeteria, hotels or street vendors. Of course, nothing tastes better than ‘home made momos’. But, for that, you will have to wait for a big gathering or some sorta family reunion, where everyone participates in the cooking process. (The trend is big in Nepal. Invitation to ‘MoMo party’ is  a big YES always! )

Screenshot_2017-03-25-16-58-22-1

And trust me, when i say it, every household in Kathmandu knows the recipe for ‘these dumplings’. However, many of us still prefer eating outdoors or ordering take-aways because  ‘gulping them quick’ is much easier than sitting down and ‘preparing them’. Stating the obvious fact. (No one likes to play chef when one gets to be a customer..Right? Atleast not me :))

So enough of that then. Lets start with, what is momo and how is it prepared? 

‘Momo’ is a basically a ‘steamed dumpling’, made either with vegetables or meat wrapped in  flour. Ones like Chinese dumpling but much smaller in size. That  reminds me to mention, the dish itself may not be a of ‘Nepalese origin’, though’ where and how did it flourish in Nepal is definitely an answer i am looking forward to know.

So, preparation of ‘Momo’ is a two step process. 1) prepare the wrap and 2) Make the filling.

Question is, how do you prepare the wrap? Well, make the dough by usual process, mixing water with flour and kneading till the consistency is right. Do i need to explain more??? Oh well..Pound the flour, squeeze it and press; time and again with your heels firmly on it, back and forth, till the flour is soft, elastic and smooth.. So when you are done, poke it, does it spring back? If it does so, and also maintains it’s shape while you leave it lying on the rolling surface, then bravo! The dough is perfect and ready to be used anytime. Take a small portion  now, and roll it into a small flat disc, gently with a rolling pin. There” the wrapper is ready too.  (Reminder, that portion is just for one dumpling. You have 10 dumplings in a plate for one person.)

youtube

youtube

The second step is to make the filling. If you are vegetarian, you can prepare fillers with onions, cabbages and neutrellas. Infact anything, you want the fillers to be prepared of. And if you are a non-vegetarian like me, mix meat (any meat of your choice) with onions, cabbages, salt and spices (according to your taste).  And by now, i will have to trust that, when you are putting together the fillers, you were smart enough to grind the ingredients  in the blender.  Because, remember, it’s a STEAMED dumpling, you don’t want under cooked chunks. 

Now, once your wrap is done and fillers are ready. Fill the belly of wrap with the fillers and knot the wrap, gently at top. Make sure it is enclosed from all around the corner while you do so. (Traditional momos are usually cooked closed, other types may be open style like pic below. The openings are to add the sauces). Now steam them for 7-8 minutes. And serve, while the aroma still fills in your senses and the momos are still  hot with juiciness, just boiling over their surface. I suggest something as simple as a  tomato soup to go with it since it blends in perfectly with the taste, trust me. But, if you are thinking otherwise, any other sauce works great too.

1490705354953

yelp

yelp.ca

Personally, for me, the perfect time to have momo is in ‘Winter’ or a ‘Cold chilly Rainy day’. Imagine, taking a bite through it’s soft supple contours, when the bun finally gives in to your demanding hunger. Imagine that moment, when the steam inside the wrap, puffs into your nostrils as a ‘give away’ sign to you, releasing into your mouth the mixed savouries, the flavors of all, that it was steaming over with. And now, picture yourself, watching  the vapour, escape from it  blending in with the thick winter fog to nothing infront of your own very eyes, while the taste of it lingers in your tongue wanting more and the pits of your stomach gives  the deepest gratifying nod..

dealslama

dealslama.com

NOW THAT IS MOMO PEOPLE!! hehhehe

My Favorite Nepali foods!! Part 1.

  1. Dhidho, Sishnu and Gundruk.

One cannot emphasize enough about ‘Dhidho and Sishnu’ as an authentic taste of Nepal, without mentioning a quote of poetry from one of the greatest writer of Nepali Literature, Laxmi Prashad Devkota.

Haat kaa maila sun kaa thailaa, ke garnu dhanle? – (हातका मैला सुनका थैला, के गर्नु धनले )
Saag ra sisnu khaaeko besa aanandi manle! – (साग र सिस्नु खाएको बेस आनन्दी मनले)
Translation:  Sacks of gold are like collected dirt on your hands, what is one to do with all these wealth? 
It is better to eat nettles greens and cultivate happiness in your heart. ( reference- TASTE OF NEPAL blog 🙂 )

Dhidho is a traditional Nepali food.

396230_10150583094928174_544833173_9054889_224220425_n

Nepalitreasureblogspot.com

Mostly served with sishnu(a form of thick soup) and gundruk(fermented leafy green vegetable). It can be cooked of corn flour(makai), millet flour(kodo) or buckwheat(fapar). The recipe is very simple, as it only needs flour. But the process of stirring it and making it into a consumable paste is tiring!( Believe me, I have seen my mom do it a number of times). And although, it pairs up with shishnu well (explained below), it can be served with chicken soup or tomato soup too. (Like, I prefer it with chicken soup, not sishnu.  Only a matter of personal taste, i guess 🙂 )

Similarly ‘Sishnu’, is basically nothing but a thick greenish soup. Prepared from sishnu leaves( commonly known as stinging nettle; as the name suggests, it has stingy leaves and stem), you would think it’s a wild plant when you first look at it, unpleasant and unpalatable to put into your mouth. And add to it, any painful experiences you have had being pricked by it, then it can be a ‘hard to digest cuisine’. Why did i say that? Well just for fun fact. In case you didn’t know, many Nepalese parents love whipping their children with sishnu leaves soaked on water, for their long lasting stingy effect. I tell you, it works better than ElectroConvulsiveTherapy for any kind of behavioral problems they are showing  😛

Gorkha-Sisno-Tipdai

tvannapurna.com

But, despite its notoriety, it is one of the most ‘favored dish’, among people of hilly and Himalaya region of Nepal. Taken as an medicinal  herb, this soup prepared out of  sishnu plant is believed to cure ailments such a Hypertension, Diabetes and bowel problems.

How do you eat something like that? Oh’ Don’t worry. Once it is prepared into soup, it will not sting or irritate your throat anymore. Infact, you will taste nothing but ‘how a soup is supposed to taste’. Now, Taste? you ask?  Depends on what flavor you add to it. Because, as you know by now, the soup on its original form only consists of sishnu leaves stirred in hot boiling water with a pinch of salt added to it. How do you want it, depends on your choice. My mom likes adding only onions, preferring it to be as bland as possible.(She is so fond of it, she had whole bush on our front yard!!)

sishnuleaves

youtube.com

Not everyone in Nepal, even in Hilly and Himalaya region have dhidho as their staple diet. Those in kathmandu may not even have tasted it,although a number of restaurants readily serves it in their menu. Because, Staple meal for us, usually constitutes ‘Bhaat, Daal and Tarkari’ that i will be writing about on my next blog, which is more easy to prepare and offers more variety in taste.

In summary, from the health point of view, ‘dhidho and sishnu’ constitutes healthiest ingredients put together and boiled. No additional element not even oil, unless of course you want to change the flavor. But from taste point of view, i cannot guarantee you will like it, unless you are a foodie like me and are interested on experimenting with your taste buds. 🙂

Don’t ask me to be Vegan! :)

pintrest

pintrest

People should stop manipulating me to be a vegan…Commenting on my ‘food’ choices is basically provoking my carnivorous instincts!

And here is what i will make clear to you,

  1. Don’t say it. May be suggest but don’t emphasize. If people can kill for money, land, religion and what not. Believe me ‘food’ will create an apocalypse.
  2. Don’t look at us like we are cruel beasts. Yes it’s taking lives away. i know, but plants have lives too. Will you stop eating them? Studies show, plants can feel too..
  3. Ok now, i know i am just being mean.. Thing is i am not saying i have not tried. My relapse  om meat diet was dangerous. Like DANGEROUS!! i had never eaten so much meat in my life before. So for the sake of God and all the animals out there, i cannot be a vegan.
jokedio

JOKEDIO

I love you guys. But i guess i love food more. Eventually i am bound to cheat..So i am signing no petition :/

P.S- what do you mean by unseen egg. If you are pure vegi. Be a pure vegi. Don’t tell me you eat egg whiffed cakes and stuffs coz that’s unseen, it still counts for ‘eggs’.

OOPS sorry 🙂