Andrew's Essential Fiery Food Facts that a pyro-gourmaniac needs to Know Part 7

Posted on 21st April 2017

Fiery Cuisines Part 4 Nepal
Although I have never been to Nepal, my mate Warren’s tales have my tastebuds exploding wanting to know and taste more. I am very privileged to call Shankar the Chef / Owner of Kathmandu Kitchen at Kingscliff, a very close friend, his cuisine has inspired me and I have eaten literally hundreds of his spicy dishes over the years. Respect to Shankar and he’s wife Karen for bringing this beautiful cuisine to Northern NSW. 
Namaste 
Nepal’s food is as diverse as the country itself. Nepali Cuisine combines a range of ingredients, techniques and characteristics from its neighbouring countries with its own gastronomic history. 
Set against the backdrop of the Himalayas, the people of Nepal have many different backgrounds and ethnicities, and this multitude of influences is reflected within the country’s cuisine. Nepali dishes are generally healthier than most other South Asian cuisine, relying less on using fats and more on chunky vegetables, lean meats, pickled ingredients and salads. Whilst Nepal does take heavy influences from its closest geographical companions such as India, China and Tibet, this mountainous country only opened up its borders to outsiders in the 1950s. This factor, in addition to transport and trade difficulties Nepal’s geographical setting, has maintained a focus on using locally grown produce.
Many Nepalis do not feel that they have eaten a real meal unless it has included a sizable helping of rice. Most residents eat a large rice meal twice a day, usually at midmorning and in the early evening. Nepali food, which is simple and subtle in flavour, is prepared by using unique blend of common ingredients and spices. Nepalese food is famous for its nutritional value and exquisite taste. In preparation of food, Nepalese people make extensive use of spices such as Ginger, Garlic, Turmeric, Coriander, Pepper, Timmur (a unique Himalayan pepper similar to Szechwan pepper), Cumin, Chillies, and Mustard.
The interesting mixtures of spices and their methods of preparation is unique to Nepal, handed down through generations.
Until the latter half of the 20th century there was very little culinary influence from abroad. Since then however, there has been a continuous influx of peoples, bringing with them new recipes, traditions, and culinary preparations.
Perhaps one of the more conspicuous groups of visitors were the American ‘60’s draft dodgers and hippies who brought their culture and culinary traditions which are still prominent in areas of Kathmandu like Thamel.
Today in the Kathmandu valley there is a considerable degree of culinary diversity sharped by the culture and level of tourism, unlike much of rural Nepal which is still quite inaccessible, and getting there may require a couple of days’ trek from the nearest pliable road. The rural Nepalese have maintained their unique cooking traditions and recipes, because of their isolation. Areas such as Bourhanath which has a large Tibetan population in exile, has more of a Tibetan flavour to its food. While Patan is a Newari area and the food reflects this. Many Nepali dishes are derived from the great culinary tradition of the indigenous Newari culture, native to the Kathmandu Valley.
For a Nepali expatriate returning to his or her village from abroad, there is nothing like a simple home prepared meal of Nepali daal-bhaat (rice and dahl) cooked in a taulo (Nepali wok) over a wood stoked chulha, and washed down with a kahadi (steel glass) of spice laden Nepali chai.
Many spices used in Nepal are either unique to Nepal or known and used differently from their counterparts in other spice growing regions. There are probably a dozen or more unique variations of spices and unique preparations of spices available in Nepal. In addition, most dishes are flavoured with mustard oil, clarified butter (ghee), and sometimes Yak butter. Because of harsh conditions prevailing in the highlands of the Himalayas, foods are preserved by dehydrating or fermenting staple ingredients during their growing season. Delicacies such as Sukuti (dehydrated meat) and Gundruk (fermented vegetables). A typical full-course Nepali meal would include an appetizer, a vegetable or lentil soup, two or more vegetable and meat dishes, and an achar or chutney, served with a roti (flat wheat bread), steamed rice or rice pilaf, supplemented with a local beverage, such as yogurt drink (lassi), beer or liquor, and followed by a dessert and tea (Chai).
Typical Himalayan dishes include Dahls (lentils curries), Tarkaris (curried vegetables or meat stews), Bhutuwas (stir-fried meats or vegetable dishes), Sekuwas (grilled meats or vegetables), Choylas (grilled meats marinated in seasoned mustard oil), rotis (traditional flat breads), MOMO's (my mate Warrens favourite thing, stuffed vegetable dumplings), Thukpas and Chow-Chows (Himalayan stir-fried noodles, Warren reckon these kick serious butt), Sukutis (smoked barbeques), Quantees (meat or vegetable stews with sprouted beans), Achars (chutney , preserved condiments), Chiya (spiced or regular tea), and many others. Many Nepali dishes are derived from the great culinary tradition of the indigenous Newari culture, native to the Kathmandu Valley.
Nepali Cuisine uses a lot of long Green Cayenne types of Chillies; I substitute them with green Serranos. 
Nepal also has its very own Chilli, the Akhbare Khursani (commonly known as “round chilli”) is one of the hottest spices in the world.
It is grown and widely used in Nepal as flavouring for the preparation of dahl and curries.
It is particularly popular for use during the cold winter months.
Akhbare Khursani is not a commercial crop in Nepal; instead it is generally grown in small quantities in home gardens.

Recipe Time…… Happy cooking…..Namaste….

Vegetable Curry Masala
Ingredients
2 tbls Cumin seeds
2 tbls Coriander seeds
1 tbls Brown Mustard seeds
1 tbls Daikon Radish seed 
1 tsp Fenugreek seeds
1 tbls Dehydrated Garlic
1 tbls Dried Ginger-
10 Dried Red Chillies
1 tsp Szechwan pepper (Timmur)
1 tbls Black peppercorn (Marich)
1 tbls Gnd Turmeric
1/4 tsp Asafetida

Method 
Heat a Pan,
When the pan is hot, dry roast Cumin, Coriander, Mustard, Fenugreek seeds, Timmur and Black Peppercorn until seeds start to pop and change colour
Tip onto a clean plate
Let it cool
With a mortar and pestle, or an electric spice grinder, grind all roasted and other remaining spices into a fine powder
Store in an air-tight container
This is a great Curry Masala Blend, that can be used in numerous curries.

Momo Cha ko achar (Dumpling sauce) 
Ingredients
2 lge (400gm) Tomatoes 
 3 tbls Sesame seeds (Teel) 
 6 Red Chillies dried 
 60 gm Garlic 
Coriander leaves pulled apart, not chopped 
Himalayan Pink Salt

Method

Heat the Sesame seed in a pan for about 1 minute 
Wash the Tomatoes in a bowl, dry and heat in a Microwave for 2 minutes
Heat the Red Chillies in a pan on the stove for few minutes. 
Grind the Sesame Seeds a mortar and pestle, or an electric spice grinder, add Red Chillies, Garlic, Salt, Coriander and the Tomato together and grind it again to get a good paste

Si Momo sauce (My Favourite HOT and SPICY)
Ingredients
400 gm Tomatoes 
3 tbls Sesame Seeds (Teel) 
1 (180 gm) Red Capsicum 
10 Green Chillies ( I used green Serranos)
60 gm Garlic 
1 tbls Ground Coriander 
2 Red Habaneros chopped
20 gm Plain Flour
100 gm Diced, Carrot, and 
100 gm Diced Celery
100 gm Diced Spanish onion
Sea Salt to taste

Method

Heat sesame seeds in pan for about 1 minute
Wash and cut two Tomatoes in half
Cut the Green Chillies in halves 
Add Red Capsicum, Garlic and Salt
Heat 1 tbls of oil in a pan 
Add chopped Garlic and fry it until golden brown
Add cut vegetables saute
Add Red Chillies, Coriander powder, Cumin powder and Salt
Add 2 cup of water and let the sauce get boiled 
Serve with MOMOs

Hot Green Chilli Pepper Achar
Ingredients
500gm Green Chilli (I use Serranos)
1 tbls Sea Salt 
1 tbls Fresh Garlic 
1 tbls Fresh Ginger 
1 tbls Mustard Oil 
1 tsp Ground Turmeric 
1 tsp Radish seed powder (I get this from the local Indian Grocers “Chilli Spice”)

Method

Wash and cut the Chillies into 3 pieces each
Put the pieces of Chillies in a big bowl 
Add all the spices on it and mix it well 
Fill the mixture in the jar close jar 
Keep the jar in a sunny spot for about 2 or 3 days

Paneer Chilli
Ingredients
350 gm Paneer
2 tbls Sea Salt 
300gm Tomato diced 1cm
½ cup Maize Flour 
1 tbls Fresh Ginger chopped
1 tbls crushed Garlic 
380 gm Brown Onions finely chopped
2 Green Chillies sliced (I use Serranos)
2 Green Capsicums
1 tbls Soya Sauce 
2 tbls Vinegar 
100 ml Tomato Sauce
100 ml Water

Method
Cut the paneer into cubes. 
Heat the oil in a an 
Add Paneer pieces in the oil. 
When the Paneer turns golden brown take it off the heat.
In the same pan, heat 2 table spoon of the oil and stir fry the Onions, Capsicums and Tomato over high heat 1 minute 
Add the Green Chillies, Sea salt, Soya sauce, Vinegar, Tomato sauce and the fried Paneer cubes. 
Mix well, and garnish the Chilli Paneer with finely sliced Shallot and Coriander leaves.

Nepali Chicken chilli
Ingredients
380 gm Chicken Breast, boneless
120 gm Spanish Onion
120 gm Red Capsicum
4 Green Chillies (I use Serranos)
360 gm Tomatoes
1 tbls Habanero powder
1 tsp Cumin powder
1 tbls Ground turmeric 
1 tbls Cumin seed
3 tbls Tomato sauce
2 tbls Plain Flour
1 tbls Ground Ginger
1 tbls Chopped Garlic 
3 Green Shallot chopped
1 bunch Coriander chopped
2 cloves of fresh Garlic crushed
1 inch of fresh Ginger crushed
1 egg
Sea salt
Oil 
Method
Cut the Onion into quarters. Cut Capsicum and Tomatoes around 1 ½ cm square 
Cut the Chicken breast around 2cm square
Split Green Chilli into 2 pieces length wise,
Put Chicken breast in a bowl, mix well with Cumin, Habanero Powder, Turmeric powder, Salt, Ginger and Garlic 
Add plain flour and Egg together and mix, toss with the Chicken. Make sure to coat all the Chicken pieces well
Pan Fry the marinated Chicken cubes in the oil. 
In a wok heat 2 tbls of oil and add sliced Green Chilli, Cumin seed, crushed Ginger and Garlic and fry for about a minute.
Add the Tomato sauce to the wok, cook 5 mins
Add fried Chicken and mix it well with the sauce. Add Spanish onion, Tomatoes and Capsicum.
Give it a quick toss, make sure the Onion remains crisp.
Add Green Shallot and Coriander and give it a quick toss and take it off the heat.
Serve it with Rice.

Vegetable Momos Andrew Stylee
Ingredients
For Dough: 
1 cup plain Flour 
2 tbls oil
Salt to taste 
Water as needed 
For Stuffing: 
1/2 cup finely shredded Cabbage 
14 cup finely shredded Carrot 
1/2 Brown Onion, thinly sliced 
1/4 cup finely chopped Green beans 
¼ tsp Fresh Ginger chopped
¼ tsp Fresh Garlic chopped
1 Green Chilli finely chopped (I use Serranos)
1 tsp Soy sauce 
1/2 tsp Gnd Black Pepper 
Salt to taste 
1 tbls Oil

Method
For preparing Dough: 
In a medium bowl combine flour, salt, oil and add enough water and knead well. 
Make a soft dough. Keep aside. 
To prepare stuffing: 
Heat oil in a pan, add and Garlic. Fry till they are golden brown in colour. 
Then add Onions and Green Chillies and saute till Onions are translucent. 
Add all the vegies and salt. 
Cover and cook until the vegies are soft and water evaporated. 
Now add Soya sauce and mix well. 
Lastly add Pepper and let the mixture cool. 
Now, to make Momos, take dough similar to size of tennis balls and make a circle about 8 cm in diameter with rolling pin. 
Put 1 heaped tbsp of the filling on the rolled dough. 
Apply water at the ends and gather the edges into the centre and seal of the edges. This will make dumpling style Momos. If you want to make half moon, put stuffing on one side and fold into half. 
To fry Momos: 
Fry on a high flame for 1 minute and reduce the flame and fry till the Momos are golden brown in colour. 
To steam Momos: 
Apply oil to the steamer basket and arrange Momos in a single layer and steam it for 10-12 minutes. 
Momos can be served with chilli sauce. You can use sauce to dip Momos or coat Momos with chilli sauce and make chilli Momos.