Day 1 on our journey was Nepal. We actually picked which countries would be on our menu about a week before the Nepal earthquake. The devastation in Nepal right now is heartbreaking so I really wanted to start the week off with Nepal while I still had all of my energy.
Nepal Day Menu:
Breakfast – Khir
Lunch – Momo
Dinner – Dal Bhat
Dessert – Kaju Peda
For breakfast we had khir, a nepalese rice pudding/porridge (also called kheer in parts of India). I have actually been craving rice pudding for a couple weeks now so this was nice to have thrown in the mix. The khir (recipe below) was a little different from the rice pudding I grew up with. I’m used to cinnamon and nutmeg, but khir is seasoned with cardamom and cloves. It was really tasty, but not quite what I am used to for breakfast. I think that is going to be a trend throughout this week. I am so used to American breakfasts being large and dense, I think we will find the simplicity of breakfasts from other countries refreshing.
Since it was Sunday we woke up a little later than usual so lunch and dinner kind of blurred into each other. I made momo (nepalese steamed dumplings) which were great! Traditionally momo have a ground meat inside them, but since Sunday was our vegan day for the week I decided to substitute the ground meat for cabbage (and we weren’t disappointed). One minor slip up with this recipe was that I intended on adding a DASH of cayenne to the cabbage…..butttt…by the time I started shake it out of the container I realized the little plastic piece (that controls the volume of spice) was missing! Sooooo there was a
bit lot more than a dash of cayenne in the momo but I didn’t hear any complaints from Eric haha.
Since I was so busy in the kitchen Eric helped me by making the dal bhat! And it was REALLY yummy. He made a fluffy white rice (bhat) and an orange lentil stew with various spices traditionally used in nepalese food. I have had a lot of dal and variations of stewed mash lentils but one thing I loved about this dal was that once the lentils were completely cooked sliced onions were sautéed in garlic vegan butter and then stirred into the dal. This was really an awesome touch! Go Nepal!
For dessert I originally had planed to make an almond type pastry, but after researching I realized it called for MANY eggs (like 10) and I just didn’t see how I would get around it this time. Eric found a dessert commonly enjoyed in Nepal, kaju peda (cashew patty). The best way I can describe these, other than really good, is that they were much like a cross between a cashew nougat and a cookie. To make them I soaked one cup of cashews overnight and made cashew paste using the cashews plus 1/4 – 1/2 cup of the water they soaked in. I heated about 2 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan, added 1/4 cup of milk, 1/4 tsp cardamom and then dumped in the cashew paste and 1.5 cups of powdered sugar. We took turns stirring the pot continuously until the contents turned into a pliable dough. I can say these were ‘painfully tasty’…I literally got two blisters from stirring the dough, ouch! It was worth it in the end!
All in all nepal day was a success!
Favorite Dish: Momo for both Eric and I
Most Challenging Moment: Stirring the kaju peda…
Lessons Learned: Nepal has some really great unique favors that are definitely giving a shot!
What We Will Make Again: Dal bhat and momo