happiness is...

happiness is...
kenya 2010

recipes (vegetarian), compliments of the "nepali eating experiment"

below are ingredients found (or can be grown) in rural nepal and recipe ideas sent by my friends and family using only these ingredients so that i would not lose my mind during a recent eating experiment, nor if/when i decide to live there. thank you!

greens (spinach, chard, lettuce)
green peppers
carrots (limited)
hot chile peppers
mango (seasonal)
watermelon (seasonal)
mushrooms (limited at special market)
milk (can make yogurt)
spices- curry, turmeric, cumin, coriander, salt, paprika, red pepper, ginger (not sure about others but my friend said spices are easy to find in kathmandu and i can stock up)


take one pound of butter
put in a BIG pan and heat on medium high heat until it melts and comes to a boil
turn heat to medium and keep boiling
a foam will form on top (which means it will expand to about 5 times its original volume) which will then go away- this takes about 3 minutes
it will foam a second time (actually more dramatically than the first)
when the foam/solids settle to the bottom and the liquid on top is deep golden brown and clear, take off heat (about 11 minutes total cooking time)
strain through sieve or cheesecloth into a heatproof container, leaving solids in bottom of pan

store in airtight container and keep away from moisture. does not need to be refrigerated.

~the "original" dal-bhat-tarkari:

ghee and/or oil
rice (white)
veggies- seems like they use whatever's on hand, but the recipes i could find had things like potatoes, cauliflower, peas, tomatoes, and carrots
onions and garlic- lots of each (see above note on "asafetida") :)
fresh ginger
spices- curry powder, turmeric, cumin (powder and/or seed), salt

in one pot, put rice and twice as much water (ie: one cup rice, two cups water...or two cups rice, four cups water). bring to boil. turn to low and cover, simmering for 15 minutes. "fluff". take off head and cover again for another 5 minutes. DONE!

in another pot,rinse your lentils and drain. then bring lentils and water to a boil. i use the double rule again, but it depends on how brothy you want them. as they come to a boil, saute chopped onions and garlic in a teaspoon or two of ghee and/or oil until translucent. add them to the lentils, along with a teaspoon each of curry powder, turmeric, cumin, and fresh minced ginger. turn to low and cook for 30ish minutes. at that point, see if lentils are soft enough. if needed, add more water and more spices and salt to taste. continue cooking for up to 45 minutes depending on desired consistency.
while lentils are cooking, melt ghee/oil in pan and add cut vegetables and spices (again use curry, cumin, turmeric, salt, etc...). fry in pan for a few minutes until beginning to soften and brown. add water and simmer, covered, until veggies soften. add less water for a thicker and drier dish- more for more of a stew.
put blob of rice on plate. add lentils and veggies. mix together and enjoy!
~karin's mjeddrah, nepali-style:
  • in large dutch over or pot, heat 3 Tbsp oil or ghee
  • sautee 2 cups chopped onion and 2 cloves minced garlic for 2-3 minutes
  • add 1 cup chopped carrots and 1 cup chopped celery (optional) and sautee for another 2-3 minutes 
  • add 3/4 cup brown rice (i actually used long grain and wild rice) and sautee together until onions are translucent and rice opaque, and veggies start to soften (5ish minutes)
  • add 1 1/2 cups green lentils (any color would work) and 4 1/2 cups water.
  • add 1 tsp salt, and sprinkle of spices, if you desire. i added about 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp cumin, and 1/2 tsp curry
  • bring to a boil and then cover and reduce heat and simmer for 45-50 minutes, until rice and lentils are tender and thick consistency is obtained.

while stew cooks, make dressing (2-4 servings):
whisk together the following-
  • 6 Tbsp oil (i used grapeseed but olive, canola, etc...would work too)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard or 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp honey or agave nectar
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp chili garlic paste (or shiracha chili sauce...this is optional but adds a nice zing)

place 1 cup fresh spinach on plate/bowl. top with stew. add "salad fixins" (ie: chopped red onion, chopped red pepper, cucumber, chopped tomatoes, chopped green onion) on top of stew, and drizzle dressing over the entire thing.

once you tire of eating the mjeddrah this way, add broth or water and turn into soup.

from kathy b.:
~Mjeddrah... 1 cup chopped carrots 1 cup diced celery 2 cups chopped onion 1 Tbsp. olive oil or butter 2 cups uncooked brown rice 6 cups water 1 lb. lentils Garden salad vinagrette dressing 1. saute carrots, celery, onion in oil when soft and traslucent place in slow cooker. 2. Brown rice in Tbsp oil until dry add to slow cooker. 3. stir in water and lentils 4. cover and cook on high for 6-8 hours When thoroughly cooked serve in soup bowls, cover with fresh green salad and pour vingrette over all. There are several recipes for this but this is my favorite. after eating it this way you can thin it out and turn it into soup.

~A breakfast scramble that includes eggs, spinach, onions and tomatoes. cucumber, onion, tomato, salad

from donna p:
~mix your rice and lentils together -- season with curry or cumin, stuff your zucchini or your green peppers.

from josh a:
~It's soup time! Saute onions, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes (if available), garlic and zucchini in a big soup pot with water. (I use no oil when I cook.) Once that stuff gets a bit tender, add a whole bunch of water and tomatoes. (I use canned tomatoes, but I'm sure you could just peel your tomatoes and add them.) Then I add a bit of salt, pepper, cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, and get that up to a boil. Simmer for at least 30 minutes to get all the goodies to come together in a lovely tasting soup. Once this is done, I pour it over a big bowl of brown rice and dig in! High carb, low fat, low protein, vegan soup will warm your soul!

from cathy a:
~‎3 x baking potatoes
4 x garlic cloves
1/2 x onion diced
1/2 c. water
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. sugar

 Peel the potatoes and cut them into 3/4-inch cubes. Place them with the whole garlic cloves and onion in a medium pot. Combine the water, soy sauce and sugar, stirring till the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover partially and simmer till the liquid starts to evaporate and the potatoes get slightly tender, about 10 to 15 min, stirring occasionally to keep the potatoes from sticking to the bottom.
If there is too much liquid, simmer uncovered an additional 5 or so min, till the liquid is reduced and thick. Don't overcook or over-stir the potatoes or they will lose their shape. Remove the pot from the heat while the potatoes are still firm; they will continue to cook away from the heat. Serve hot or chilled.

a couple more from your's truly...

~spanish eggs:
i took eggs- which are available in nepal- and fried them over medium. i topped them with a chutney (i like to call it salsa) made of simmered tomatoes, garlic, onions, chiles, and cumin (which is a favorite nepali seasoning). by NOT adding curry and only using garlic and cumin, i produced something with more of a spanish or southwest flavor. in essence, i got a little reprieve from my mexican craving. yay!!!

~for lunch, take the rice and fry/simmer it with the rest of the diced tomatoes, onions, chiles, garlic, and cumin to make spanish-style rice.