We really weren’t able to focus fully on the great culinary offerings of Nepal, because we were just so preoccupied by the earthquake relief efforts, and keeping up with the news. But we did spend some time yesterday in Jackson Heights, Queens, where a large Nepali community is rallying to raise funds and donations. Diversity Plaza has turned into an information and drop off center for the area, and it’s a great place to stop by and find out what’s really necessary for the areas most in need.
Thukpa is a popular meal in Nepal. It’s a soup that traditionally features hand pulled noodles and a meat in a spicy, flavorful broth. We didn’t have the time to make the noodles so we used some soba noodles that we found in the pantry. The recipe we used also called for grilled chunks of lamb, but we only had ground lamb so we made tiny lamb meatballs that we got crispy and well browned. Over all this is one of our favorite Nepali dishes so far – it’s really tasty, and is more unusual in that it’s not directly Indian or Chinese but truly a Nepali dish.
This is a curry recipe from Nepal that definitely tastes more Indian than Chinese. It’s got loads of spices but the cardamom and fennel seed give it a distinct licorice taste. very unusual and very delicious. Here’s the recipe we based our dish on.
Tarkari seems to be a general term for a delicious, spicy Nepali curry. You can find recipes for pretty much anything from lamb and chicken to potatoes and beans in a Tarkari. Lamb is a popular meat in Nepal so we figured we would start with it. The flavor profile is strongly influenced by China and India, which makes sense since Nepal is a crossroads between the two regions. The original recipe called for only lamb, but we added chopped tomato and green beans to bring some veg to the party.
Last Friday, we announced that we would be exploring Nepal for the coming week, and were very excited at the prospect of going to some Himalayan restaurants and researching and cooking traditional recipes. And then on Saturday morning, Nepal was hit with a devastating earthquake. Updates are still coming in, but as of this writing, over 3000 people have died, and thousands more are injured or displaced. So before we even think about food, we would like to raise awareness, and help the people of Nepal who are suffering.