This week as we ventured to Tibet, I knew I wanted to do my best to channel my inner Dali Lama. The advice that this great man provides stuck with me best in the form of:
“Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.”
That’s actually really profound when you stop for a second to consider it. Sometimes we want things we think we need but like one of my mom’s favorite bands, The Rolling Stone’s, is so keen to follow up: “you can’t always get what you want, but if you try—sometimes you find you get what you need.” And for many of us, what we think we need isn’t what we really need. I, for one, am incredibly lucky that I do not always get what I deserve. We did absolutely deserve to have an excellent meal, which is what we were hoping to find on our trip to Nepal.
THE DINNER: Dal, chutney, lentils, curry’s and pickled things all grace the landscape of Nepalese cuisine. Unlike so many of the cultures we have explored over the past thirty-nine weeks, Nepal bases their food profile mostly on climate and resources as opposed to cultural influence. It’s interesting the dichotomy though found in the food, as it borders both Chinese, Middle Eastern and Indian flavor silhouettes. The food is definitely meant to be hearty and sustainable since it is a tough climate to live in and their people are very much a working class. There is also a strong emphasis on vegetarian cooking since their home to Tibetan monks and a strong Hindu/Buddhist municipality. That’s not to say that their cuisine doesn’t feature its share of chicken and pork, because it does—it is to say that red meat is hardly eaten and vegetarian food is the staple (mostly due to availability as opposed to religion).
We went the route of dal (soup) for this week. It’s been super cold and blustery which is nothing, if not perfect, soup eating weather. Plus we couldn’t resist the complexity of flavor we found in the their soups. It’s so well rounded and robust. We had to see what it was all about after reading through the ingredient list. Absolutely intriguing. Ladakhi Chicken Thukpa was the soup we pulled for this week’s trip abroad. This is a traditional Tibetan soup and is basically the Nepalese take on the Western “Chicken Noodle Soup”. How utterly fitting for the time of year…. plus mom was under the weather this week, which makes this country a feast for your soul and your body.
Ladakhi Chicken Thukpa Recipe: http://food.ndtv.com/recipe-ladakhi-chicken-thukpa-441337?desktop=true
OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:
Ease of prep and cooking: ONE STAR out of five this Dinner!
All things aside, soups are generally one of the easiest things you can cook. Seriously, you add ingredients and liquid and let it simmer till it gets all happy and all the flavors become best friends. It’s simple. People have been making them since the beginning of time. So it comes as no surprise that this was a piece of cake. One star covers all the components. I would consider giving it a half more star based on the fact that we has to convert the ingredients from metric and double them to accommodate serving size for three people. Even that wasn’t very challenging.
Best dish of all time scale: FIVE STARS out of five for Dinner!
We ARE IN LOVE WITH NEPAL! Seriously. We basically were ready to up and move to the majestic Himalayans, adopt a llama, stay forever and eat nothing but Nepalese food. That would be perfect. We all agreed that this was the best chicken noodle rehash we have ever had (and let me tell you, my mom literally makes some kickass chicken noodle, yo). This was made better by adding chiles to it. I mean it was brilliant to add a little bit of heat to the broth– what better to clear out stuffy sinuses!? And then there was the coriander, which was brilliant. I, a lover of onions, was even a little taken aback by the sheer volume of onion in this recipe. I mean, white and green!? The maddness! The Anarchy! But, friends, this was the magic of it! The onions were subdued by the spicy peppers and everything was happy with the mellow chicken meat and the tame egg noodles. It was definitely something we want to keep on hand in our cookbook for the future.
As we venture into Valentine’s day weekend we will travel to one of the most romantic nations we could think of, Spain! Week #40 will find us taking Spanish lovers, music and food by storm! Let us not forget the Spanish soccer stars… 😉
Nada puede ser mejor que estar contigo!
(Translated from Spanish: Nothing could be better than being with you!)
– L & K