Saturday, 31 July 2010

Nepalese Thakali Food

Nepalese food is a lot subtler in flavour and heat than its southern neighbour. It is very healthy as well, as they do not use that much oil or ghee. The sauces are not as fatty either compared to some Indian gravys I have eaten.
This was shown to me by my guide on my 5 day rapid trip through Nepal visiting nearly 20 hotels. Thankfully we were not invited to eat in many of those hotels, as I was sick of hotel food by that point.
The Thakali people originated from the north of Nepal in Mustang. They originally were trading people, but slowly over the years have migrated south into the cities of Kathmandu and Pokhara to set up businesses there.
As they used to conduct trade as far north as China and south as India, there adaptation of these foods has become legendary. No one does dal bhat (rice and dal) better than a Thakali. Slowed cooked in an iron pot, with some turmeric to add some earthy flavour.

The arrangement of the foods is essential as well. You will never find foods of the same colour next to each other. They never clash. The bowls are arranged neatly with the dal closest to you. Radish chips are an essential in a Thakali meal. Their crunchiness is as good as the potato version. The meats are slowed cooked and tender and fall apart when they reach your mouth. As I said the flavours are quite subtle and do not over power the meat or veg. Something some Indian cooks should take note of.

But with everything in Nepal, rice is the king. When we stopped for food, it was always said we are going to eat some rice. The other ingredients just add to it. I ate a lot of rice. Too much.
I’m not sure if there are any Nepali restaurants in London, but it will be fun to try and find one, as long as they sell the local fire water called raksi. 

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