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23 January 2011

Nepal #8: Learning to Cook Tarkari

Tarkari - Vegetables
These were pretty much omnipresent in our daily dhaal bhats. The mixture of vegetables varied from day to day, but almost always had potatoes as the base, with guest appearances from cauliflower, green beans, green leafy veggies, and tomatoes.

Since I love cooking, I spent a lot of time with my family learning how to cook veggies, buffalo meat, chicken, and chiya (tea). Here's a video where I am prepping the veggies and talking a little bit about them! That's my host-mom and her son Susil in the background.

How to make tarkari:

(in our household -- others might have varied a bit):
  1. Chop potatoes and other veggies with sickle (another post soon about how the blacksmith makes the sickle!).
  2. Heat a good amount of sunflower oil in wok-shaped pan over fire.
  3. Add methi (fenugreek seeds) to oil. They should pop if the oil is hot enough. 
  4. Add a handful of roughly chopped shallots. Stir well as they fry to golden brown.
  5. Add a bunch of aloo (potatoes) to the hot oil, stir, and cover with lid to allow the potatoes to cook through without burning. 
  6. A bit later, add the green beans, a good tablespoon of turmeric, some paani (water) to keep from sticking, and stir well.
  7. Add lots of salt! (Way more than I would ever use... but now I understand why this was so tasty!)
  8. Add cauli (cauliflower) and stir.
  9. Add approximately equal amounts of cumin and cayenne pepper (less than the turmeric). Stir together and cover. 
  10. A few minutes later add the tomatoes and chopped scallion leaves.
  11. Add the very end add a handful of chopped cilantro.
I apologize if the quantities are very vague! They measured spices out using the lids of the spice jars, so any amounts I tell you would be very inaccurate.  I think it's a pretty resilient recipe - adding or removing a step shouldn't affect it too much. These are so delicious! Tarkari and chiya (future post) are the two things I think I couldn't get sick of!

Mitho che! Delicious!

1 comment:

Tammela said...

YES, someone else who knows about sunflower oil! That's pretty much what everyone uses (and produces) in Ukraine. Not my favorite, but not bad. Olive oil is available but expensive.