Tag Archives: Nepal

Dahl Delicious

23 Aug

Oh how I love dahl (or dal or daal or dhal – however you feel like spelling it.)  It’s just such a wonderful food.  I spent days hiking though the Nepalese Himalaya dreaming about the dahl I would find at the tea house at the end of the day.

This particular dahl is one that I have been working on for a while, I think it’s pretty close to the ‘standard’ dahl that we had in Nepal.  (I say ‘standard’ because each tea house obviously has different ingredients and a different way of making their dahl – however, there is a pretty standard ‘base’ flavour which I think stems from the spices and ingredients found within particular regions.)  I suspect that my dahl has some different ingredients but then again that also comes down to the ability to source ingredients.

For this dahl you’ll need:

  • 2 1/2 cups brown lentils
  • 1 1/2 onions very finely diced
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • salt
  • 3-4 tablespoons crushed tomato
  • squeeze of lemon (or lime) juice
  • ground chili (or fresh chili) to taste

In a big pot, put your dry lentils in about 4 cups of slightly salted water.  When cooking my lentils I never bring it to a rolling boil, just let it simmer away for 45ish minutes.  Keep checking the water, and if it’s getting low add as much as you think is necessary.  When the lentils are almost done start the onion and spices mix.  In a small frying pan start with the mustard seeds, toasting until they start to ‘pop’ (if you’ve never done this before, don’t worry: you can’t miss it!).  Add in the onions, garlic and ginger and cook down until the onion starts to become translucent.  Add all the spices, except the chili and stir around until it start to smell fragrant.  Then, stir this mix though the lentils, along with a pinch more salt, a small squeeze of lemon juice and the tomatoes (if you don’t have crushed tomatoes, you can use tomato paste – but put in a little bit less!)  After everything is well incorporated, add chili to taste.  At this stage you’ll probably need to add another 1/2 cup – one cup of water – more if you like soupy dahl, less if you like it less soupy.

If desired, serve with rice and/or chapati.  As you can see from the photo, I did make chapati but it wasn’t amazing.  I’m going to play around with the recipe a bit before you get to see it.  You can buy naan, chapati or roti from the supermarket if you like.

Oh, dahl…  how I love you…

A Talking Pig

2 Jul

This is an old-ish video, but very good and worth a watch.  And, as I am a pig lover, I especially love that it is narrated by a pig.

(It’s originally from bizarro, where there are a bunch of vegan and animal rights related cartoons and stuff.)

On an unrelated note, we went out for dinner with some friends tonight.  We went to a Nepalese place where I had Dahl Bhat for the first time since we returned from Nepal.  It was pretty good – but nothing like the dahl bhat from an old Nepalese lady, in the mountains, after ten hours of walking uphill on Nepalese flat.

When in Nepal, remember: Dahl Bhat; all power, no toilet, no shower.

A Vegan and A Vegetarian walk into McDonalds…

28 May

No, this isn’t the start of a joke.  It’s a story about my wonderful husband, S, who used to live off KFC and Subway’s chicken fillet.  Last night we had stir-fry and when I asked if he wanted me to throw in some cubes of tofu he excitedly said ‘yes please!’   He doesn’t admit that he’s a vegetarian.  Well, that’s not quite right – he doesn’t like to label himself that way.  It’s easier to just not eat meat than accept all the ‘baggage’ that comes with a title.  That’s fair enough – even if I do secretly wish that he would just come out and be proud of the choice.  It’s not my choice to make.

When we first started dating, he wouldn’t eat Indian food.  I had to bully him into going to my favourite restaurant – our local Nepalese place.  Imagine my surprise when he vehemently agreed that our five-and-a-half week holiday should be spent walking through Nepal and eating through India.  There was one condition, though.


‘It’s the only place you can get true vegetarian McDonalds!’ he argued, ‘I miss the fact that we can’t just pop out and grab burgers anymore’ (even though we both pass different outlets of Lord of the Fries on our respective ways home…)  So, I conceded – we lived my childhood dream of walking though the Himalayas, and we went to McDonalds.  It was…  interesting.  Not exactly as I remembered.

But, right now, as we’re sitting on the couch after home-made bean and vege parcels, onto our second-bottle of Friday Night Wine, I just asked him what he thought the best meal we had in India was…  he said ‘That Peas Masala!’  We had it in an out-of-the-way little underground place in Kolkata.  Here is a recipe that I’m going to try out next week.  I’ll let you know how it goes…