It kills me when I think of what a picky eater I was growing up. The only vegetable I ate were cucumbers. Summers at my grandparent’s house were spent with me cracking blue crabs on a picnic table covered with newspaper, and while I was awesome at getting out the crab meat, it never once touched my lips!
Since I make a lot of Mexican dishes and Asian dishes, I wanted to do something completely different. With such a short amount of time to do research before this challenge had to be posted, I decided to first pick a cuisine and then start my research from there. I was telling a co-worker about making it to round two, and he actually gave me the idea of trying Nepalese food!
I am horrible at geography, and didn’t really even know where Nepal was, but discovered that it is next to India and China. You can tell that both of those countries helped form Nepalese cuisine – especially using a lot of Indian spices like garam masala.
I chose three classic dishes of Nepal. Dal is very popular and is a staple at most meals. I am lucky that I have an excellent ethnic grocery store by me and was able to find these lentils:
Dal Bhat (printer friendly version here)
Makes 8 servings (184 calories, 1.3 fat, 30.3 carbs, 15.1 fiber and 13.1 protein)
|3||teaspoons chicken stock (I used Better than Bouillon)|
|1||tablespoon fresh ginger|
|1/8||cup mustard seed|
|1||teaspoon garam masala|
- Bring water to a boil. Add lentils remaining ingredients (except mustard seed), reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour, or until beans are soft.
- Using a hand mixer, puree. In a separate pan, add scant teaspoon of oil over medium heat – add mustard seeds and saute until they start to turn a darker shade. Let cool on paper towel.
- Garnish soup with mustard seeds and cilantro.
I love how earthy this soup tastes, with a hint of spice and I really like the mustard seeds
Next on the list? Roti! Roti is also served at almost every meal – its used more as a utensil than anything else. Here’s a weird fact – people in Nepal only eat with their right hand as they use their left hands to take care of personal hygiene. (Remind me not to shake someones left hand if I ever go to Nepal!)
Roti Recipe (printer friendly version here)
Makes 8 servings (163 calories, 5.5 fat, 23.9 carbs, .8 fiber and 4.1 protein)
|1/4||cup warm water|
- Mix all ingredients with a wooden spoon.
- Knead the dough for 5 minutes. Put oil in bowl and cover dough in oil. Let rest for a minimum of one hour.
- Heat oil in a skillet – pan fry over medium high heat until bubbles appear on the roti. Turn and cook the other side until golden.
I didn’t have any traditional ghee (clarified butter basically), so I just brushed each side with a bit of canola oil before it hit the pan.
I may have even had my breakfast sammie on one!
Chicken Momo (printer friendly version here)
Makes 30 dumplings (per dumpling: 84 calories, 2.2 fat, 9.9 carbs, .5 fiber and 5.7 protein)
|1||pinch of salt|
|1||pound chicken breasts|
|1||tablespoon garlic, minced|
|1||tablespoon ginger, minced|
|1||tablespoon curry powder|
- For the dough: Mix flour, oil, water and salt in a bowl. Dump on counter and knead the bread for 8 minutes – adding splashes of water if its too dry.
- Let the dough rest 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add remaining ingredients in a food processor and mince the meat. Put in a bowl.
- Take a piece of dough about the size of a golf ball and roll it out to about 4 inches. Add 1 heaping teaspoon of meat mixture and wetting the edges of the dough, crimp the dumpling together.
- Steam for 20 minutes. Alternatively, you can cook the meat mixture until almost done, add to dumpling and deep fry for 2 minutes, or until golden brown.
I saw both steamed and fried momo’s – so I did them both. Except for the fried version, I didn’t think the chicken would cook in time before the outside was done, so I just pan fried some of the chicken mixture until it was almost cooked through, and then crimped as I did the steamed ones.
These momo’s were very good – however, Hannah and I both thought they would be better in a chicken dumpling soup! What really made this dish for me though, was the dipping sauce – so spicy and good!
Momo Dipping Sauce (printer friendly version here)
Makes 1 serving (Calories for whole recipe: 249 calories, 23 fat, 9.3 carbs, 2.3 fiber, 2.3 protein)
|1||teaspoon soy sauce|
|1/2||teaspoon rice vinegar|
|1||cup diced tomatoes|
|1/2||teaspoon garam masala|
|1||teaspoon garlic, minced|
|1||teaspoon ginger, minced|
Simmer all ingredients for 15 minutes. Using a stick blender, blend until smooth.