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Nepalese Recipes

On Tuesday 9th June we hosted a demo and buffet fundraiser for Nepal earthquake relief, with proceeds going to Global Action Nepal (GAN). We cooked up large pans of Dhal (lentils), bhat (rice) and tarkari (vegetables) for us all to share. We were also joined by Chris Sowton from GAN who showed us a short film about their organisation, and a sitar player whose music provided the backdrop for our menu of traditional Nepalese fare. We raised approximately £700 for GAN and are hugely thankful to our guests for their generosity.


Nepalese Fundraiser Menu

Dalai Lama’s Tibetan Momo

with potato, mushroom

Shamdur Dippping Sauce

Bhang ki Pickle

Sour hemp and chilli pickle

Black Urad Dhal

Urad dhal soup with tempered spices

Tarkari

Seasonal Tomato curry

Char-grilled Tomato Pickle

Rice and Poppadoms

Dhal (lentils), bhat (rice) and tarkari (vegetables) are staples in the Annapurna mountain region and are eaten twice a day at home.

The dhal is made with a mix of split lentils – black urad lentils being popular – flavoured with turmeric, cumin and coriander and sometimes spinach. The Nepalese like their dhal soupy – they pour it over a mound of rice, mix with the fingers of the right hand and eat deftly keeping their palm spotlessly clean, it’s quite a skill!

Potatoes are the main component of the tarkari, then seasoned with onion, garlic, fenugreek, turmeric, chilli, cumin and coriander plus lots of salt. Served on the side are stir-fried greens such as mustard tops, spinach and cabbage, and pickles (mooli sliced, much like the Korean kimchi).

Pickles or chutneys are always eaten with a meal throughout Asia are considered a staple food group in nepali cooking. They act as a relish or condiment and often aid digestion. Usually have a strong flavour and are eaten in small amount. Some are made fresh, others are preserved or left to ferment, similar to the Korean kimchi.

Tibetan Momo are eaten scalding hot, with chutney’s and washed down with Yak butter tea. Very heart warming at an altitude of 5000 metres. Momo are traditionally steamed or fried.


Dalai Lama’s Tibetan Momo

Dietary: Vegan

Serves: 8

Ingredients

Pastry

  • 200g white plain flour
  • 200g wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 100ml water to mix to a soft dough

Filling

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 bunch spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2cms fresh ginger root, grated
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 100g shitake mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 200g cooked potatoes, roughly mashed
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. First make the pastry. Mix the flours together and add the bicarbonate of soda, making sure there are no lumps in the bicarbonate of soda. Mix well and then slowly add cold water a little at a time. Use your hands to form into a soft dough. Set aside.
  2. To make the filling lightly stir-fry the spring onion, chilli, ginger and garlic in the sunflower oil.
  3. Add the cumin and nutmeg then the mushrooms and stir-fry for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add the potato and mix well, take off the heat. Season to taste.
  5. On a well-floured surface, roll out the pastry out to the thickness of ¼ cm and cut out about 16 x 10cms circles. Take a large teaspoon of the filling & place in the middle of each pastry circle. Fold the circle in half making a half moon shape. Pinch the edges together firmly so that none of the juices can escape when cooking. The idea is to get the Momo to sit up, so that the pinched edge will be uppermost. Squash the Momo down onto its base so that it looks like a mini pasty.
  6. Steam in a bamboo steamer, remember to brush a little oil on the bamboo to prevent sticking.
  7. Eat the Momo piping hot with Shamdur dipping sauce and hemp seed chutney.

Tips: You can also deep-fry the momos until crisp.


Shamdur Dippping Sauce

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp shoyu
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

Method

Mix all the ingredients together.



Bhang ki Pickle

Bhang Ki is made from roasted hemp seeds, cumin and lemon and has a sour and spicy taste.

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • The juice ½ a lemon
  • 2 whole dried chillies
  • Salt to taste

Method

  1. Heat a heavy frying pan and dry fry the hemp seeds, until they small fragrant. Set aside.
  2. Repeat the process with the cumin and chilli, they should only take a minute or so to become fragrant and create a light smoke.
  3. Transfer all of the seeds and chilli to a pestle and mortar and grind.
  4. Add the lemon bit by bit to make a paste. Taste and add salt if needed.

Hemp seeds are highly nutritious. Hemp grown for culinary use or for oil or fibre production is not the same as cannabis. Hemp seeds contain all of the essential amino acids making them a good source of protein, omega 3 and 6. Eaten widely in Nepal due to its nutritional value and nutty flavour.



Chargrilled Tomato Pickle

(poleko golbheda ko achaar)

Ingredients

  • 4 ripe tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves (skin left on)
  • ¼ tsp Sichuan pepper, ground
  • Chilli flakes (to taste)
  • Salt

Method

  1. Heat a large heavy frying pan and char-grill the tomatoes and garlic until the tomato skin is blackened-turn the tomatoes and garlic often. You could do this under the grill or on a bbq if you prefer. Allow to cool.
  2. Squeeze the garlic out of its skin and halve and de-core the tomatoes. Place them all in a food processor (or you can use a hand blender) and whizz to a smooth paste. Add the Sichuan pepper and chilli and whizz again. Taste and add salt and more chilli to your taste.
  3. Serve as a dipping sauce.

Sichuan Peppers are widely used in China and their use has spread into Himalayan food. They are not really peppercorns but the berry from a bush-they has a slightly mouth numbing effect.


Dhal bhat

Nepalese dhal is a soupy dish, which is then poured over white rice to eat. It’s up to you which lentils you choose, split red lentils cook the fastest or choose split black urad dhal or split and de-husked mung dhal.

Dietary: Vegan, gluten free

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 150g split black urad dhal, washed
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • A thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 400ml water
  • 4 tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 green chillies, kept whole but split and de-seeded
  • to taste: lemon juice and salt

Tempering

  • 1 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil or ghee
  • 2 red chillies, split, de-seeded
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • A handful of Jimbu (Nepalese herb) or curry leaves

Method

Heat the sunflower oil and stir fry the ginger, garlic and fenugreek seeds until fragrant.

Add the lentils, turmeric, cumin and coriander powder, water, tomatoes and green chilli.

Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender, then season to taste with salt and a squeeze of lemon and set aside. Before you temper your spices, warm the dhal up.

Tempering

Heat the sunflower oil in a frying pan and add the chillies and mustard seeds and Jimbu or curry leaves. When the mustard seeds start to pop, pour the hot flavoured oil over the hot dhal and serve at once.

Tips:

You can add any seasonal vegetables you like to this dish to make it more of a meal-small cubes of squash or carrot, sliced beans, cauliflower or a handful of spinach are all good additions.



Tarkari (Seasonal Tomato Curry)

This is a very traditional Nepalese curry, which I enjoyed up in the Annapurna region. Tarkari can be made with whatever seasonal vegetables you have and often includes potatoes.

Dietary: Vegan, gluten free

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 cm piece of ginger, chopped
  • 2 whole green chillies, split & deseeded
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • pinch of chilli
  • 4 tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 150g potatoes, diced
  • 100g courgettes, diced
  • 100g green beans, sliced
  • 50g broad beans
  • 100g spinach or chard leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • lemon juice
  • coriander leaf

Method

  1. In a frying pan dry fry the coriander, cumin and fenugreek seeds until fragrant, then grind them to a powder in a spice grinder or a pestle and mortar.
  2. Heat the oil in a saucepan (with a lid) and fry the onion until soft, then add the garlic, ginger and whole chillies and fry for a minute. Next add the cumin, coriander, turmeric and chilli and fry for another minute. Add the tomatoes and potatoes and fry in the spiced oil, add splashes of water if needed to stop sticking and cook with the lid on for 10 minutes to half cook the potatoes, next add the courgette and beans and cook for 5 to 10 minutes until they are cooked but still with a bite. Add the spinach or chard, wilt down for a minute and season to taste and add a squeeze of lemon and fresh coriander leaf.

If you couldn't make it to our Nepal fundraiser, but would still like to help, you can make a donation by visiting Global Action Network's website.

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