How to make Nepali Food: Daal Bhat Thakali with meat (masu) option
Nepal has a staple diet of Daal Bhat (lentils and rice) usually served with a vegetable curry, and sometimes meat curry. Nepalis eat this delicious staple meal 2 times per day (around 10am and 8pm) and really cannot live without it. I have never met a Nepali person that was comfortable going more than 1 day without eating Daal Bhat. The flavor is addictive and this meal is an excellent source of nutrition.
Nepali Meals are Super Healthy!
There is a saying in Nepal “Daal Bhat power, 24 hour!” Which means that if you eat your Daal Bhat, you will never run out of energy. Perhaps that is why the people of Nepal are so incredibly strong and resilient. In any case, for those who have been to Nepal and want to re-create the flavor of your favorite Nepali meal, here is a recipe that is quick and easy for you. If you had not tried Nepali food, but like Indian or spicy food, I think you will be pleasantly surprised by this wonderful, aromatic Himalayan meal.
Here’s What You will Need to Make the Curry (Veg or Meat)
Chopped Meat or Veggies
Finely chopped garlic
Crushed, finely chopped ginger
Mixed Masala (for meat curry, or veg curry)
Chili (to taste)
How to make the Meat (Masu) or Vegetable (Thakali) Curry:
(You would not mix meat with vegetable, so make these curries separately if you would like both, but follow the same recipe.)
- Heat oil in pan (enough to cover the bottom of the pan)
- Heat cumin powder in oil (don’t burn it)
- Add chopped onions, and begin to fry
- (If making veg. curry) Add potatoes
- Add chopped vegetables or meat
- Sautee veggies or meat until they are slightly brown (about 10-15 mins)
- Add tomatoes, garlic, and ginger
- Add about 1 cup of water continue to cook 5 minutes
- Add masala (blended spices) and turmeric, chili and salt (to taste)
- Add more water if needed to dissolve the spices, and create a gravy for meat (it should be soupy-watery, not thick). Veg curry should not have much gravy but veggies should be soft when cooked.
- Continue cooking until veggies or meat are fully cooked.
- Take off of heat; add chopped cilantro on top
How to Make Daal (Lentils):
We use Red Split Lentils, but there are many varieties you can buy at any store that sells Indian specialty foods. You could also use green lentils, but this is generally not eaten in Nepal. The most common are red lentils (which look yellow) and black lentils (which are black and white).
- In about 1.5 cups of water, add ¾ cup of lentils. Boil, then turn down to simmer for about 20-25 mins. Add turmeric to make nice yellow color.
- In a separate small pan, heat some butter (ghee is best). Add Jeera (cumin) seeds, and about 20 pieces of chopped garlic. Fry until browned. Then add this to lentils. Add salt for flavor.
How to cook the Bhat (Rice):
Basmati rice is nice, but any rice will do. Basmati rice is not typical for day to day use in Nepal, but it does add a nice flavor. Nepali style rice is light and fluffy, not sticky.
- Rice is cooked 1 part rice to 2 parts water. So, far two people 1.5 cups of rice and 3 cups of water would be fine. Simmer until water is soaked up, and rice is soft.
Add ons that make this a typical Nepali meal:
Onda – Omelette goes great with this if you did not cook meat, but want to add something with the veg curry.
Achar – a spicy relish that is made out of many different things in Nepal. For a simple Achar, mix 1 boiled tomato, 1 jalapeno, 5 cloves garlic, cilantro and salt into the blender and puree it. Serve this on the side of the rice to mix in with the curry and rice.
Saag – Spinach that is finely chopped and pan fried with salt and garlic. Served on the side of the rice.
Dahi – Semi-sweet plain yogurt served after the meal.
How to Eat Daal Bhat with Curry:
On your plate, mix daal, veg curry and meat (if you made that) into the rice and add the achar to make it more spicy. Also, add the saag, or bits of the omlette. The idea is to mix all these flavors together as like them. Dahi is eaten at the end of the meal.
Now for the “real flavor” you must eat your meal with your hand! For how to eat Nepali food with your hand, read more here.
This post was created on request for friends of Medical Trek Nepal – Tami, Samantha and Jessica Maras. 🙂