Nepal Food Recipe (5) – Bandipur Kishan Masala

This fun “mini-Thali” Nepal food recipe is ideal for a lunch party or a tasty supper. It’s also a Nepali dish you can “make your own” too as some of the individual dishes allow for “in season” produce, or individual preferences,

It’s a meal that we serve daily for luncheon at The Old Inn in the hill town of Bandipur. Indeed the characterful Old Inn is considered the “best place to stay in Bandipur” by Lonely Planet!

This Nepal food recipe is the creation of our own chefs from the Old Inn at Bandipur using typical Nepali spices and ingredients and the name itself loosely means “Spicy Bandipur Farmer”, so is a “tongue in cheek” play on the British “Ploughman’s Lunch” Nepali style of course!

The town of Bandipur itself is perched about 1000m above the Trisuli River Valley floor and is “sorta kinda” half way between Pokhara and Kathmandu.

Himalayan views from Bandipur

In its “hey day” the Newari mountain town of Bandipur flourished as it was on the ancient trading route between India and Tibet.

Then came roads and vehicles and Bandipur fell on hard times.

However with the establishment of the Old Inn tourists started to discover the charms of sleepy Bandipur and once more there’s a “buzz” to the town.

Bandipur affords breathtaking views across to the Annapurnas and Manaslu and although Bandipur is far from a ‘one street town’, its attractive main street is pleasantly pedestrians only and has a very relaxed atmosphere altogether.The architecture of Bandipur is principally Newari and thankfully well preserved too. The town is quite spread out as it occupies a saddle between the hills of the Mahabarat range.

fantastic day walk from Bandipur is up to the remote hill village of Ramkot. As well as great views and moderate walking up through a pleasant landscape, the Magar village of Ramkot is one of the last places in Nepal where the traditional thatched roof round house still exists.

A walk down to the Siddha Cave is also interesting, even if you do have to walk back up to Bandipur again! It’s the largest cave system in Nepal, and is claimed to be the second largest in South Asia.

BANDIPUR KISHAN MASALA RECIPE

This multi-dish meal consists of the following:

Khapsi Bread – Spicy fried potatoes – Chickpea Curry – A medley of spiced cooked vegetables – Nepali Mayonnaise salad – Sliced Hard Cheese – Tomato Pickle

Firstly you’ll need to prepare our Nepali spice mix

It can of course be used to flavour curries that you create yourself too or if you are going to cook Chef Shree Ram’s Famous Farm Thali

Ingredients

100g cumin seeds

100g coriander seeds

25g cloves

10g sichuan pepper

25g cinnamon

25g cardamom

1 nutmeg

Method

Combine and mix all the spice ingredients together and either:

  1. Leave them in full sunlight for a day
  2. “Dry roast” in a frying pan over a medium heat for a few minutes, being careful not to burn the spices. A good indicator that it’s time to take the spice combination off the heat is when the coriander seeds begin to pop.

Grind all the spices, preferably using a pestle and mortar, into a fine powder and store in an air tight container. A glass jar is best.

You’ll also need some garlic and ginger paste for several of the dishes and again this can be made in advance by simply blitzing some chopped garlic and ginger (a 50:50 ratio) together in a blender, or with a pestle and mortar.

Khapsi Bread ( A traditional Tibetan bread)

Preparation time: 20 m ins approx

Cooking time: 30 mins approx:

Serves: 4 persons

Ingredients

400g plain flour

3 teaspoon sugar

50g butter (unsalted)

1 teaspoon baking powder

170ml water

500ml sunflower oil

1 egg

Method

In a large bowl mix the flour, sugar, butter, egg and baking powder slowly adding the water and knead into a smooth dough

Roll the dough into small balls in the palm of your hand

On a floured board roll out (in a circular motion) each of the dough balls to about 1/4 inch (6mm) thickness

Cut into rectangular shapes (approx 1 inch, 25mm x 5 inch, 125mm)

Using a knife make a small slit of the bread through the slit to in the middle part of the rectangular dough and pull one corner of the dough through the slit to make a twist shape

Once you’ve done all the pieces heat the oil in a pan

When the oil is hot add a piece of the twisted dough to the oil and fry until golden brown, moving it around very slowly.

Once you are certain the bread is cooked all the way through, remove from the oil with tongs and place on kitchen towel paper to cool.

Repeat for each individual piece of dough until all are cooked. It’s important to cook the bread one piece at a time.

Spicy Fried Potatoes

Preparation time: 15 mins approx

Cooking time: 20 mins approx

Serves: 4 persons

Ingredients

200g potatoes

3 teaspoon mustard oil

1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

20g chopped onion

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon garlic & ginger paste

1/2 teaspoon Nepali spice mix

10g fresh, chopped coriander

Method

Boil potatoes for around 10 mins so they are part cooked

Allow to cool, remove the skin and then cut into “British Chip” sized sticks

Heat the mustard oil and when hot add the fenugreek seeds until they are a dark brown colour- be careful not to burn the seeds as this will make the flavour far too bitter

Add the chopped onion to reach a golden brown colour then add the potatoes

Add the turmeric powder and salt to taste and cook whilst stirring continuously until a golden brown “roasted”colour is reached

Now add the garlic & ginger paste and Nepali spice mix and continue to cook for a further 5-7 minutes, or until the potatoes are thoroughly cooked through. Mix the paste and spices in well whilst cooking.

Add the chopped fresh coriander, stir through and serve

Chickpea Curry

Preparation time: 10 mins approx

Cooking time: 30 mins approx

Serves: 4 persons

Ingredients

200g Chickpeas

2 teaspoon mustard oil

5g fenugreek seeds

20g chopped onion

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon garlic & ginger paste

1 teaspoon Nepali spice mix

10g fresh, chopped coriander

100ml water

50g chopped, fresh (ripe) tomatoes

Method

If you’re using dried chickpeas soak them overnight in water, drain and wash well before use. Tinned chickpeas can be used straight from the can.

Heat the mustard oil and when hot add the fenugreek seeds until they are a dark brown colour- be careful not to burn the seeds as this will make the flavour far too bitter

Add the chopped onion to reach a golden brown colour then add the chickpeas

Add the turmeric powder and salt to taste and cook whilst stirring continuously

Add the water, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 15 mins approx

Remove the cover. Add the ginger & garlic paste, tomatoes and Nepali spice mix and continue to simmer for a further 10 mins approx

Add the chopped, fresh coriander, stir in well and serve

A medley of spiced Cooked Vegetables

Preparation time: 10 mins approx

Cooking time: 20 mins approx

Serves: 4 persons

Ingredients

500g of “in season” vegetables of your preference cut to your preferred size. We often use broccolli florets, cauliflower florets, carrots and green beans for a nice blend of texture, colour and flavour.

2 teaspoons ghee or unsalted butter

5g cumin seeds

1/2/ teaspoon salt (or to taste)

1/2 teaspoon timuur* or szechuan pepper – *Timuur is a Nepali peppercorn and from the same family as Szechuan pepper. You can easily purchase online e.g. AMAZON

Method

Boil or steam your mixed vegetables until cooked to your preference. We favour “al dente” to avoid a mushy end result

Remove the cooked vegetables and allow to cool to “warm”

Heat the ghee or butter in pan and once hot add the cumin seeds

Sauté until the seeds have turned a deep brown colour

Add in the vegetable medley, salt and timuur. Mix and cook until the vegetables are hot enough to serve

Mayonnaise Salad

Mayonnaise is of course far from being Nepali, but it works really well.

Preparation time:5 mins approx

Serves: 4 persons

Ingredients

200g raw vegetables of your preference, washed and peeled accordingly. We use a mix of carrots, cabbage, cucumber, radish and lettuce.

3 teaspoon runny honey

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon mustard powder

1 teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoon mayonnaise

Method

Cut the vegetables (where applicable) into shapes e.g batons, julienne etc

Add the prepared vegetables to a bowl and cover with water. Place in a fridge and leave for approx 15-20 mins.

Remove bowl from fridge and drain all the water from the prepared vegetables in a colander

Add the vegetables back to bowl, add all the other ingredients. Mix in well so that all the vegetables are coated and serve.

YAK CHEESE

We get our yak cheese from a specialist located in the stunning Langtang Valley of the Nepal Himalaya and at the time of writing we couldn’t find human grade yak cheese online…..only a very, very hard type for dog treats!

But, don’t worry there are alternatives available that will still work equally well with this “mini-thali”.

What you’re looking for is a “hard alpine/mountain cheese”, as yaks are of course bovine like cows and live in the mountains just like the cattle herds of the alps, pyrenees etc.

Cheeses like Comté and Bergkãse and even Manchego work really well and all you really need to do is finely slice whatever cheese you choose to go with the other dishes.

Tomato Pickle

Preparation time: 10 mins approx

Cooking time: 20 mins approx

Serves: 4 persons

Ingredients

200g fresh, ripe tomato

1 tbsp mustard oil

5g fenugreek seeds

50g chopped onion

4 garlic cloves finely chopped

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic & ginger paste

1/2 teaspoon Nepali spice mix

10g fresh coriander, chopped

Method

Roast the tomatoes whole in a hot oven for 10 mins, until you see the skin starting to blister.

Remove from oven and peel away the skin

Add the tomatoes to a bowl and grind into a paste

Heat the mustard oil in a pan and when hot add the fenugreek seeds and cook until dark brown being careful not to allow the seeds to burn

Add the chopped onion, garlic and turmeric powder and continue to cook whilst stirring until brown

Add the tomatoes, salt (to taste), ginger & garlic paste. Nepali spice mix and cook for around 10 minutes on a low heat

Turn off the heat and add the fresh coriander. Mix in well and serve

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