Sunday, January 15, 2017


Well, today didn’t turn out like I imagined it would. I know sometimes there are days like that, but when they happen, it still throws me in a completely opposite direction. It was just a whole series of small things (like forgetting to buy green chilies) that kept throwing me off what I was supposed to be doing. In the end, I did manage to make three of the four recipes I pulled for Nepal. 

Spicy. Sweet. Kind of like me.
Actually, I started the bread prep yesterday. I chose to make Gwaramari bread, and to start this, I mixed all my dry ingredients together in a bowl: 1 2/3 c flour, 1 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp each of salt and black pepper, and a ¼ tsp each of ground coriander, ground cumin, ground ginger, and garlic powder. Once I mixed all of this together, I slowly poured in enough water to get it to a paste consistency (I ended up using a little less than 1 c). Then I covered it with plastic (ok, I used wax paper) and put it in the fridge overnight. I think it’s supposed to rest for 24 hours, but mine was closer to 16 or so. When it came time to actually cook these, I poured enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of a skillet about ¼”. When it was hot, I put oil on my hands and pulled pieces of the dough off and rolled them into a ball and placed them in the oil. Once they were browned on all sides, I let them drain on a paper towel. I served this with mango chutney, which really made it taste great. I tried it by itself, and it really needs the mango chutney to go with it. Together it gives a certain sweet-spicy flavor to it that makes this really good. 

Surprise of the day. It's good whether it's served cold or warm.

Next I made Aaloo ko Achar, or Spicy Potato Salad. I peeled and diced two large potatoes and boiled them until they were soft. Then I drained the water from them and dumped them into a bowl. (I used a plastic bowl. This was a mistake, and you’ll find out later why it was.) Then I added in ¼ c of peas and carrots, half a small can of diced green chilies, a few shakes of crushed red pepper, ¼ c of lemon juice, and ½ tsp of black sesame seeds. I stirred everything so that it was mixed consistently and set this off to the side. Then in the same saucepan I used for the potatoes, I heated up 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil and threw in ½ tsp of turmeric and 1 tsp of fenugreek seeds. Once the fenugreek seeds started looking brown, I took it off the heat and dumped the whole thing—oil and all—on top of the potatoes. This is where using a plastic bowl was a mistake. As I started stirring everything together, I realized the sides of my plastic bowl was turning a lovely shade of turmeric yellow. Great, I just got this bowl for Christmas. I guess it just needed to have that used-for-twenty-years look. I topped this with fresh cilantro just before serving, and I thought it was great. The lemon certainly gave it a flavor I wasn’t expecting, and the combination of the fenugreek seeds, turmeric, and sesame seeds added a little bit of spiciness that I was also wasn’t expecting. Topping it with cilantro was a good idea; it complimented the other flavors. 

Comfort food, Nepali style.

The main dish today was Thukpa, or Nepali chicken noodle soup. What’s better than warm chicken noodle soup on a cold January day? Not much. (A side of a million dollars would be nice, though.) To begin this, I started with making a spice sauce. I pulled out my blender and threw in a half onion I diced up, 2 tsp of minced garlic, 1 tsp of dried chopped ginger, 1 tsp ground cumin, ½ tsp turmeric, ¼ tsp black pepper (in lieu of timur powder/Szechwan pepper), 1 pinch of onion powder (in lieu of asafetida powder), and half a small can of diced green chilies. I blended this up until it was smooth. Then I added in about ¾ of a container of grape tomatoes and blended until it was smooth again. (This actually made my blender smell like onions and curry.) In a large saucepan, I put a little oil in the bottom and heated it up before pouring in my spice mix and cooking it for several minutes. I poured in a large container of chicken broth (ended up to be 4 ¼ c, so I filled the remaining ¾ c with water) and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Now, the recipe called to cook a chicken thigh in the broth and later shred it, but instead, I used some grilled chicken strips that I bought to put in a salad. I just chopped them up a little and threw them into the broth. After the fifteen minutes were up, I added in some carrots and red bell pepper that I thinly cut matchstick style. While all that was simmering, I heated up water and cooked my Thai rice noodles. After they were cooked, I drained them and then ran cold water over them and drained them again. (Actually, I dumped a whole bunch in my sink on accident. But I still had enough to use for dinner.) To serve this, I put the noodles in the bottom of the bowl and ladled the broth with the chicken and vegetables on top of the noodles. I also topped this with cilantro. I thought it was wonderful. My son thought it was a little bit spicy, but I didn’t think so. I liked it quite a bit.

My meal, so far. But wait! There's more!

I was supposed to make Momo, or Nepali chicken dumplings. It’s like a national dish or something, so I didn’t want to leave it out. But I was too tired to make it today. Luckily, I have tomorrow off of work for Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday, so I’m going to make those tomorrow and update this post with photos of the deliciousness. Hopefully all goes well.  

....UPDATE: OK, now time for Part 2.

I'm not even sure what these are. But they were kind of tasty. The right ingredients make all the difference.

First of all, let me start off with the fact that I couldn’t find wonton wrappers at any of the stores I went to. All I could find was springroll wraps. And I even went to an international store, so I must’ve not been looking for them in the right places. The springroll wraps were just too thin. Anyway, I mixed the filling: one large can of canned chicken, ½ red onion diced, ¼ c chopped cilantro, 2 tsp dried minced ginger, 2 tsp minced garlic, ½ tsp ground coriander, ¼ tsp turmeric, ¼ tsp cumin, half a small can of diced green chilies, 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil, and a few shakes of coarse grain salt. I mixed everything together and let it sit to let the flavors blend while I made the other stuff. Next, I made the tomato pickle (also called Golbheda ko achar). For this, I heated up some mustard oil (I mixed together 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil with ½ tsp of dry mustard) and sautéed 2 tsp minced garlic with 2 tsp of ginger. Then I threw in some fenugreek seeds, a little crushed red pepper, and a pinch of onion powder (in lieu of Jimbu herbs), and a pinch of black pepper and stirred. When it was all mixed with the oil, I threw in my chopped grape tomatoes and stirred, letting it cook down for about 8-10 minutes. After it cooked down and cooled a bit, I threw it in my blender to get it down to a smoother paste consistency. 

Holy crap, these were delicious! Pretty sure they're not authentic, but I'm making them again anyway. I thought they were better with hoisin sauce, though. 
So, I did try to steam these using the springroll wraps, but they ended up falling apart when I tried to take them out of the steamer basket. So, I said to myself, “Skip this. We’re gonna fry these suckers.” And so through a series of mishaps and evolution, my momos turned into momo-springrolls. The sauce threw me off. It's definitely tomato-y, but the ginger was strong. It was an odd combination I wasn't used to. They still ended up really tasty, albeit not as authentic as I was hoping they would be. I guess that’s how the springroll crumbles sometimes.  

Up next: Netherlands

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